Where will the funding for teachers' and support staffs' pay rises come from?
On the 19th July, the government announced a pay rise for teachers starting in September. As part of the push towards a £30,000 salary for new teachers, Early Career Teachers (ECTs, formerly NQTs) outside of the capital will receive an 8.9% increase. More established teachers will receive increases ranging from 5% to 8% depending on experience, while experienced teachers who have been in classrooms for over 5 years will be given 5%.
There is also a pay offer for school support workers representing a pay rise of £1,925 which is currently being discussed by the unions. For the lowest paid workers, this equates to a 10.5% rise, but just over 4% for the highest earners on the NJC scale. For those above the ending point of the NJC scale this represents an even lower percentage increase.
We applaud any increase in salary for all the hard-working members of staff in schools. Education has always been a sector that is seen as a vocation – not just because of the salary. However, in recent years, staff salaries have not risen in line with the private sector leading many to leave jobs they love in order to provide for their families. In recent months, we have heard of TAs and other staff having to use food banks to keep food on the table, and whilst we welcome the rise that is offered, the sector must do more to fund this, and future rises.
However, these rises are not above inflation. Inflation was at an all-time high of 10.10% in July and is set to reach 18.8% in January. The Bank of England is predicting that this year's energy prices could be triple what they were last time, whereas wages have fallen by 4.5% this year in real terms.
The NASUWT has made it clear to the Government that this is a completely inadequate pay award, especially given current levels of inflation. Over 9,000 NASUWT's members in England were surveyed about the raise and 72% said it should be rejected as being inadequate. NASUWT's members have rejected the raise and are proposing strike action.
The Keystone team are absolutely delighted that school staff's salaries are increasing but how will schools be able to find over £900 million in unused funding without having to resort to restructures, or drastic decisions, especially in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis? This may be the straw that breaks the camel's back if the pressure doesn't ease but it's important that all staff are paid a living wage. Of course there are ways to generate incomes in schools - click here for our latest blog post on diversifying your income.
If your school or trust is facing some tough decisions this coming year because of finance, why not drop Keystone a message? Keystone Knowledge has over 100 years of combined experience working within schools. Through our consultancy service, we can work with you to find efficiencies within your school, without reducing the quality of the education that your students receive.
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