Head teachers demand 10 per cent pay rise for staff

The Education Secretary has signalled that next year's pay uplift will be much lower than 10 per cent
The Education Secretary has signalled that next year's pay uplift will be much lower than 10 per cent - BEN STANSALL/AFP

A head teachers’ union is demanding a pay rise of at least 10 per cent for school staff amid a “recruitment crisis”.

The National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), the school leaders’ union, said teachers need a “double-digit” pay rise next year “to improve the competitiveness of teaching as a career”.

Last year, teachers in England received an average 6.5 per cent pay rise, and the Government committed to increase school funding by £4 billion over two years.

Gillian Keegan, the Education Secretary, has signalled that next year’s pay uplift must be lower. In Government evidence submitted to the teachers’ pay review body last week, the Department for Education suggested pay awards should return to a “more sustainable level”.

It cited lower inflation forecasts and predictions that unemployment will rise, helping to fill staff vacancies.

Responding to the evidence, the NAHT published its own analysis of school vacancy data, which shows that staff vacancies more than doubled between 2020 and 2022, from 1,098 to 2,334.

Paul Whiteman is calling for an 'urgent double-digit pay uplift'
Paul Whiteman is calling for an 'urgent double-digit pay uplift' - Jonathan Brady/PA

The overall vacancy rate for England is at its highest for over a decade, according to the union .

Paul Whiteman, the NAHT general secretary, said: “We cannot afford to let this continue. Education is already in the grip of a recruitment and retention crisis – the more people leave, the worse that gets.

“The Government needs to send a clear signal to the workforce that change is coming – that starts with an urgent double-digit pay uplift.”

It comes after the National Education Union, the biggest teaching union in the UK, launched an indicative ballot on Saturday to test members’ appetite for a fresh round of school strikes that could force classrooms to close later this year.

The NEU has about 300,000 members in England and Wales.

Daniel Kebede, its general secretary, claimed on Sunday that “thousands” of teachers have already voted in support of strike action. He said an “unsustainable” teacher shortage was “leading to sky high workloads” and bigger class sizes.

Teacher strikes could be looming again
Teacher strikes could be looming again - Dan Kitwood/Getty

Louise Hatswell, a pay specialist at the Association of School and College Leaders, another school leaders’ union, said: “There has been a decline in teachers’ real-term pay for more than a decade, and during this time staff shortages have reached crisis point. Our evidence clearly demonstrates that, in order to address this, there is an overwhelming need for a significant, above inflation pay increase for all teachers and school leaders.

“On top of this, there must also be a longer-term plan to restore the real-terms value of staff pay, which has been severely eroded since 2010, and ensure that annual uplifts at least keep pace with inflation.”

The Department for Education has been contacted for comment.