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7 Takeaways From The 26th School Teachers’ Review Body Report

School Teachers' Review Body report on pay suggests a 1% rise in teacher salaries won't be enough to tackle continuing recruitment pressures within the profession

  • 7 Takeaways From The 26th School Teachers’ Review Body Report

Today, the School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB) published its 26th report, having been tasked with examining the issue of teachers’ pay by Nicky Morgan back in October last year.

Broadly, the remit for the report was as follows:

• To advise on how salaries and allowance ranges for classroom teachers,unqualified teachers and school leaders could be adjusted to improve recruitment and retention, allowing for an average rise in pay of 1% focused on addressing issues with recruitment and retention

• To make its recommendations while bearing in mind government policy on public sector pay, and ensuring that its proposals would not be ‘difficult or onerous to implement’

• That its recommendations should also consider the government’s commitment to increasing autonomy for schools (via academisation) in setting their own pay arrangements.

The report’s authors note that the 1% pay rise limit had been objected to by unions, who pointed to the cumulative effect of several years of public sector pay freezes. Nonetheless, the report explains that Nicky Morgan “She “Made clear in evidence to us that there would be no increase in school funding to cover the cost of our recommendations.”

The full report can be found here. Our main takeaways are as follows…

1. School recruitment pressures are getting worse

STRB uses the report to highlight the current ‘challenging climate’ surrounding school recruitment, singling out ‘significant shortfalls’ in secondary ITT, an increasing number of vacancies and a growing number of teachers leaving the profession.

The report goes on to note that, “Our analysis of earnings data showed that the relative position of teachers’ earnings has deteriorated further this year and they continue to trail those of other professional occupations in most regions.”

The STRB also raises the prospect of school recruitment pressures continuing to worsen due to high demand within the graduate labour market and concerns within the profession regarding levels of workload

2. Schools should offer higher starting salaries alongside performance-related pay

The STRB recommends that schools offer higher starting salaries to attract high calibre graduates. There’s also the suggestion that schools should offer differentiated ‘performance-based, progression awards’ to ensure that the best teachers are able to advance more rapidly, plus a proposal for schools to be given more discretion in the awarding of allowances and recruitment/retention incentives to better address local needs.

3. A case could be made for an average pay award rise of more than 1%

Despite the report’s brief and the government-imposed 1% limit on pay award rises, the STRB states that “There is a case for an uplift higher than 1% to the national pay framework, to strengthen the competitive position of the teaching profession at a time of growing demand for graduates.”

The report further notes that such a rise would give schools more ‘headroom’ in terms of being able to offer higher salaries as incentives in areas where that might be needed.

While the STRB recommends a 1% rise across all teacher and leadership pay ranges from September 2016, there is also the following, rather striking quote:

“If current recruitment and retention trends continue, we expect an uplift to the pay framework significantly higher than 1% will be required in the course of this Parliament to ensure an adequate supply of good teachers for schools in England and Wales.”

4. Many schools have yet to get on board with the idea of ‘differentiated pay awards’

The STRB observes that “Many schools are not yet confident in using pay flexibilities to develop targeted pay responses which help them make best use of budgets to meet local needs,” with use of ‘generic pay policies’ remaining widespread.

5. ‘Good teachers should progress through the main pay range within about five years’

The report stresses the need for a national pay framework that’s attractive to both existing teaching staff and potential new recruits. It also calls for schools to make more effective use of pay progression in rewarding and retaining good teachers, and echoes an observation from Nicky Morgan that good teachers ought to be able to progress through the main pay range within five years.

6. A Salary Advance scheme for rental deposit is worth looking into

This, the report states, could be a useful tool for helping schools address recruitment and retention issues. As such, the STRB recommends that the DfE amends its statutory guidance to indicate that salary advance schemes for rental deposits are an option for schools to pursue, and to explain via its website how schools can go about implementing such schemes.

7. More work still needs to be done

Finally, the STRB suggests that there ought to be a further, more detailed examination of teacher with a broader remit, which would provide a ‘firmer foundation’ for schools’ pay policies. The other areas it proposes looking at include, “The rationale for the main and upper pay ranges,the purpose of allowances and the use of non-consolidated payments alongside well-embedded performance-based progression.”

The response

In a written Ministerial statement, Nicky Morgan stated that she intended to accept all the report’s key consultations.

The report’s publication also prompted responses by…

Malcolm Trobe – Interim general secretary, Association of School and College Leaders
“The publication of this report and the Secretary of State’s response are extremely late, having been delayed by government ‘purdah’ periods for the London mayoral election and the EU referendum. This has left schools and teachers uncertain for far too long about the critical issue of pay awards.

“Even more disappointing, however, is that these pay awards are once again limited to an uplift of one per cent when we are in the midst of a teacher recruitment crisis. Furthermore, schools are expected to fund these awards without any additional funding from the government at a time when budgets are under severe strain because of real-terms reductions.

“We note that the STRB comments that there is a case for an uplift higher than one per cent based on its assessment of recruitment and retention considerations alone, but that the government’s clear position is that there will be no additional funding. This should serve as a wake-up call to the government that it simply cannot go on limiting teachers’ pay in this way.”

Dr Mary Bousted – general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers
“ATL welcomes the STRB’s report which couldn’t be clearer: there are increasing challenges in teacher recruitment and retention, and the Chancellor’s imposed public sector pay limit of 1% is contributing to this.

“The STRB says schools are unconfident at managing pay flexibilities - this flexible system of performance-related pay was undesired, remains unwanted, and will continue to be unfair and ineffective. It is inappropriate for a time of excessive workloads, tight funding and a crisis in recruitment and retention.

“At a time when budgets are tight it will be difficult for schools to offer upfront loans to teachers for housing costs. However, if we are to address the regional variations in teacher supply then it is essential that schools are encouraged to look outside their normal catchment area.

“The next Prime Minister, their Chancellor and Secretary of State for Education must take heed of the Review Body’s call for a future uplift ‘significantly higher’ than 1% to address teacher recruitment and retention, improve teachers’ working lives, and save the next generation’s education.”

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