Education unions consider pay offer but NEU recommends members reject it

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The National Education Union has said it will recommend members reject what it called an “insulting” pay offer from the Government.

The NASUWT and the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) said they will ask for feedback from members, while the headteachers’ union NAHT said its national executive committee will consider the details on Monday evening before deciding its next steps.

The NEU said the offer amounts to a £1,000 one-off cash payment for the present school year and a 4.3% consolidated pay rise for most teachers for next year.

The union, whose members have been involved in recent strike action, said its analysis suggested that between 42% and 58% of schools would have to make cuts next year to afford it.

The Department for Education said it was “a fair and reasonable offer” which was “a good deal for teachers”.

The NEU’s national executive committee decided the offer should be put to members, recommending rejection, in a ballot which closes on Sunday.

Mary Bousted and Kevin Courtney, joint general secretaries of the NEU, said: “This is an insulting offer from a Government which simply does not value teachers.

“This offer is less than teachers in Scotland and Wales have been offered. It does nothing to address the long-term decline in teacher pay and therefore does nothing to solve the problems in teacher recruitment and retention.

“Each year the Government’s own teacher training targets are routinely missed and a third of teachers leave within five years of qualifying. Thirteen per cent of those who qualified in 2019 have quit. The Government seems content for this to continue.

“Schools will continue to be stretched financially, and it is students who will suffer. Staffing and services will be squeezed in order to comply.

“This is not a sustainable situation and we stated so throughout our campaign and during negotiations.

“It is now crystal clear that we have an Education Secretary and a Government that is ignoring the crisis in our schools and colleges.

“By refusing to address the legitimate and reasonable request to bring to an end more than a decade of below-inflation unfunded teacher pay increases, the Government is driving teaching and recruitment retention in schools in England to breaking point.

“No child benefits from this level of underfunding. Investing in the education of this generation of children and young people, those hit so hard by Covid, is essential to economic recovery. To sit by and allow so many talented teachers to leave for reasons which are entirely fixable should be a point of shame for this Government.

“The NEU is determined that this does not stop here and following the results of the ballot on the current pay offer we will be considering our next steps in our campaign to stand up for the education of children and the teaching profession.”

Geoff Barton, general secretary of ASCL, said: “We will tomorrow circulate full details to our members and ask them for their feedback over the next few days as to whether we should accept or decline the offer.

“This is a matter of great importance to leaders, teachers and parents and we are ensuring that our response is fully considered and representative of our members in schools across the country.”

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of NAHT, said: “All the unions involved in the talks have received the same offer.

“NAHT’s national executive committee will be considering the details of this offer this evening. They will then decide on our next steps.”

The union will give an update on Tuesday, he added.

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “The Government and the education unions – NAHT, ASCL, NEU and NASUWT – have engaged in intensive discussions over the last 10 days.

“The Government has put forward a fair and reasonable offer, backed with funding for schools.

“The offer provides an average 4.5% pay rise for next year, puts £1,000 into the pockets of teachers as a one-off payment for this year, and commits to reducing workload by five hours each week.

“This is a good deal for teachers that acknowledges their hard work and dedication.”

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