New teachers to receive £6,000 boost to attract the ‘best’

Starting salaries for teachers will reach as much as £30,000 by the 2022-23 academic year under a range of plans announced today by Gavin Williamson on pay, performance, training and flexible working.

The education secretary will set out his proposal to increase starting salaries by up to £6,000 in a letter to the School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB), seeking its recommendations for next year’s pay settlement.

Education secretary Gavin Williamson said: “I have been instantly impressed by the dedication, commitment and hard work that I have seen from those at the front of our classrooms.

“I want the best talent to be drawn to the teaching profession and for schools to compete with biggest employers in the labour market and recruit the brightest and the best into teaching.”

The Department for Education (DfE) said the move, which follows two years of above-inflation pay awards, would make pay for new teachers among the “most competitive in the graduate labour market”.

The current minimum salary for teachers in England and Wales outside London is £23,720, and £29,664 for inner-London schools.

Teaching unions have, however, warned that that the increase may be not be enough to attract new people to the profession and fails to recognise numerous other pressures on schools.

Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union (NEU), said: “The proposed increase to teachers’ starting salaries is absolutely necessary if the government is going to get enough graduates wanting to become teachers, but it may not be sufficient.

“Teacher training targets have been missed for six years in a row, and this announcement may go some way to making teaching more attractive.

“However even these pay rises will only return starter teachers’ pay to where it was in 2010 in real terms, with all other teachers below those levels.”

Urgent action is needed now and teachers will be disappointed that any increases will not take effect until 2023” – Chris Keates, NASUWT

Bousted also urged the government to invest more in retaining existing teachers, after a Public Accounts Committee report revealed last year that ministers had failed to “get a grip” on teacher retention.

Chris Keates, acting general secretary of the NASUWT, said: “Increases to the pay for classroom teachers are long overdue, following almost a decade of pay erosion which has left teachers’ pay falling further and further behind the pay of other graduates.

“However, urgent action is needed now and teachers will be disappointed that any increases will not take effect until 2023.”

She added: “With two-thirds of teachers seriously considering leaving the profession, the Government must also ensure that investment in teachers’ salaries also guarantees improvements in the pay of all teachers, including experienced teachers.”

The DfE said the £14bn investment announced by the prime minister last month will ensure that pay can be increased for all teachers, saying it is proposing to increase the pay of early-career teachers fastest is in line with the evidence on where recruitment and retention challenges are greatest.

Williamson added: “Teachers should be in no doubt that this government fully backs them in every stage of their career, starting with rewarding starting salaries, and giving them the powers they need to deal with bad behaviour and bullying and continue to drive up school standards right across the country.”

The education secretary will also ask the STRB to recommend the introduction of progression points in pay. Progression will continue to be linked to performance ensuring the investment best supports the recruitment and retention of the most talented recruits into classrooms.

Bousted said: “The proposal to introduce progression points looks like an admission that another part of the teachers’ pay free-for-all has not worked. The NEU wants the government to go further and to reinstate statutory progression pay points, in negotiation with teacher unions, so that the pay system is transparent, open and fair and so that proper incentives are put in place for experienced teachers to stay in teaching.

Williamson also announced the creation of “ambassador schools” to champion flexible working and share good practice on implementing it in schools.

He said: “We know that the lack of flexible working opportunities is often cited as a reason for leaving. Other sectors have embraced flexible working and the benefits it provides – I want to see the same in schools. There are great things happening in some schools, but I want it to be the norm.

“These new Ambassador Schools will break down the barriers and show schools who are nervous about flexible working that not only can it be done, it can change their school for the better.”

Trainee teachers will also see reforms to core training, which will “high quality” and “evidence-based” and “structured curriculum resources” to reduce teacher workload, building on pilots run by the DfE.

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