1% pay cap for teachers to remain in place

13 July 2017

The School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB) recently published its twenty-seventh report: 2017. The report recommended an uplift of 1% to the minima and maxima of all pay ranges and allowances in the national pay framework, other than the minimum and maximum of the main pay range, to which they have recommended a 2% uplift.

The government responded to the STRB report saying that following previous reforms, schools already have significant flexibility, within the pay ranges, to set pay for individual teachers, taking account of performance and retention. Nevertheless, those at the bottom of the main pay scale will receive an automatic 2% increase, a small proportion of teachers. As such it is consistent with the government’s public sector 1% pay policy.

The STRB report recommended the following:

  • A 2% uplift to the minimum and maximum of the main pay range (MPR)
  • A 1% uplift to the minima and maxima of the upper pay range (UPR), the unqualified teacher pay range and the leading practitioner pay range
  • A 1% uplift to the minima and maxima of the leadership group pay range and all head teacher group pay ranges
  • A 1% uplift to the minima and maxima of the Teaching and Learning Responsibility (TLR) and Special Educational Needs (SEN) allowance ranges.

Commenting on the government’s announcement, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers (NUT), said:

"This is a missed opportunity which the government will come to regret as the teacher recruitment and retention crisis gets worse.

Teachers’ pay increases have fallen behind inflation by 13% since 2010 while this public sector pay policy has been applied. This latest pay announcement will mean that figure increases to over 15%. The pay being offered to newly qualified teachers would be over £3500 higher if the pay cap had never been applied and schools would have far fewer difficulties in recruiting new graduates.

The government’s attack on national pay scales and its pursuit of performance related pay at a time of funding cuts in schools has meant that teachers are increasingly unlikely to get pay progression either. The result is that the government’s own figures show that average pay for classroom teachers has only gone up by £300 – less than 1% – since 2010.

The government announcement does however allow a 2% increase for all teachers on the Main pay scale, not just newly qualified teachers, and the NUT will be pressing the government to ensure that this happens.

The School Teachers’ Review Body has told the government that teachers continue to be paid less than other graduate professionals throughout their careers and that the pressures faced by schools in attracting high quality teachers have not reduced. It has also said that there needs to be a longer-term investment in an effective teaching workforce. This clearly supports the NUT’s argument that the government needs to invest in more and better paid school staff.”