Chancellor George Osbourne recently announced that the funding for teachers’ pay rises is to be limited to an annual 1% increase for the next four years. This news comes at a testing time for British education, which is currently facing a teacher shortage, with training targets not being met and record numbers of teachers leaving the profession.
This announcement came just before Mr Osbourne announced plans to introduce a higher minimum wage, claiming that ‘Britain deserves a pay rise’. Just not the 5.3million plus public sector workers it seems, whose pay will fall in real terms every year, due to inflation being predicted to rise 2% by 2020.
Unison General Secretary Dave Prentis immediately attacked George Osbourne’s statement by saying “the economy is growing yet public servants remain shut out of the recovery. Britain won’t have public services fit for 21st century needs, unless wages for public servants are high enough to attract the best recruits”. Mr Prentis continued to say that “capping wages at a miserly 1% for four years will hasten the reluctant exit of money-dedicated teachers from our schools”.
Schools around England are already struggling to find and recruit teachers. Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT teaching union claimed that “this will further exacerbate the teacher recruitment and retention crisis, and widen the already significant pay gap between teaching and other graduate professions. Teacher’s starting salaries are already 20% below other graduate professions”.
These feelings are supported by most public worker unions who have been voicing their disappointment. Brian Lightman, general secretary of the ASCL heads union stated how he thought this wage cap will only add to the challenges schools currently face, by stating “we already have a serious recruitment crisis in teaching. Further limiting pay to 1% will add to the problem and make recruitment even more difficult”.
In his announcement Mr Osbourne said “in light of continued low inflation, the government will fund public sector workforces for a pay reward of 1% for four years from 2016-17 onwards. Which will save approximately £5billion by 2019-20”. The Chancellor continued to say that “to ensure we have public services we can afford and to protect more jobs we will continue to restrict public sector pay awards with a rise of one percent per year for the next four years. Public spending should reflect public priorities and we have to make our choices”.
What do you think? Is this for the good of the economy? Or are teachers once again being taken advantage of by this government? Will the news on the wage limitations just aid to the difficulty schools are currently facing. Will this see teachers to change professions? Or can Nicky Morgan and the Tory government still find a way to make this profession attractive to graduates and people thinking about teaching? Have your say here…