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Why the teacher pay rise isn't what is seems

What do the stats really mean?

While the headlines might read well, the 3.5% pay rise only impacts teachers on the main pay range. That’s only 4 in 10 teachers in England. Leaders, senior staff and high-paid teachers will miss out on the 3.5% raise. Whilst around 60% of teachers will receive below-inflation awards of 2%, or in the case of school leaders just 1.5%.

What spurred the amendments to pay?

Years of a 1% pay cap have led to a desperate cry for substantial raises to teacher pay. The sector has seen application rates dwindle and many teachers are on the verge of burnout. In a sector where people are said to “come & go at the same rate” it’s hoped that this pay increase will raise recruitment and retention of teachers just starting their career.

Where is the pay coming from?

Unfortunately, this pay rise is not fully funded and it’s far from across the board. Schools will need to find up to £250m from somewhere in their budgets to help fund these changes. It’s feared that school budget cuts will be funding this pay increase.

What’s on the horizon?

Lifting a 1% pay cap on teachers’ salaries, in place since 2013, was a monumental movement for the industry. However, it’s a far cry from the 5% raise that the Education Unions advised. The rise of 3.5% has left many disappointed, seeing the National Education Union threatening to take strike action. The amount ‘per pupil’ spending in UK schools has fallen by a huge 8%, since 2010. The Department for Education claims funding will be at its "highest ever level", reaching £43.5bn by 2020, but this can’t facilitate the expected growth in student class sizes.

Why the movement might be redundant?

The rising wages have been spurred by recruitment, retention and job attractiveness. Many argue that the pay rise is masking the real issues within the education sector, those being: the lack of support for teachers, stress and classroom safety. There is no doubt that increasing wages will see a further strain on school resources and budget, with many arguing that teachers are still underpaid, it begs the question is this movement really worth it?

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