The country’s biggest teaching union has warned that schools in England face a serious teacher shortage unless pay is brought in line with inflation.
The Guardian reports that trainee recruitment is down 25,000 compared with last year. Meanwhile, experienced teachers are leaving the profession at the fastest rate for more than a decade.
However, research shows that every 1% increase in pay gives a 2% boost to graduate recruitment in high-demand disciplines such as science, maths and technology.
The National Education Union used the research to support its call for teachers to receive an “inflation-plus” pay rise.
Failure to give teachers a fair deal risks strikes in the autumn, the union warned the previous education secretary Nadhim Zahawi.
In response, Zahawi suggested that new teachers will receive above-inflation increases to their starting salaries over the next two years. He also said any strike action would “risk undoing” progress made by pupils recovering from the pandemic and school closures.
However, the teaching and school leaders’ unions point out that with the consumer prices index last month reaching 9.1%, the highest for 40 years, the government’s submission to the independent School Teachers Review Body (STRB) last year is now obsolete.
While the DfE said it plans to raise the starting salaries of new teachers to £30,000 over the next two years, pay for more experienced teachers and school leaders would rise much more slowly, by between 2% and 3%, with all pay increases coming from existing school budgets.
In a letter to Zahawi from the NEU’s joint general secretaries, it was argued that the terms proposed in December don’t take into account “the new economic reality of double-digit inflation”.
“We call on you to commit to an inflation-plus increase for all teachers. It is not good enough to only propose higher increases for beginner teachers,” the letter stated.
“We have to tell you that failing sufficient action by you, in the autumn term, we will consult our members on their willingness to take industrial action. And we will be strongly encouraging them to vote yes.”
The STRB is expected to make its latest recommendations on teachers’ pay before the end of the school year next month.