The National Union of Teachers (NUT) yesterday demanded a 10% pay rise or at least £3,000, whichever is greater.
At the NUT’s conference in Cardiff delegates backed the motion, claiming that working conditions and stress were forcing some young teachers to move abroad in search of better pay.
Just last month the government confirmed that teachers would get a 2.3% pay rise this year and next as part of a multi-year deal, despite other public sector workers being limited to a 0.5% pay increase.
But a Bradford teacher, Ian Murch, pointed out that the Consumer Price Index was still more than 3%, claiming that reducing teachers’ pay because of the recession was just an excuse. Teachers had been exposed to cuts in the real value of their pay between 2004 and 2008 by more than 6%, he added.
Schools minister Sarah McCarthy-Fry said that the average teacher is on a salary of £33,000 per year and that pay had increased by 19% in real terms since 1998. She added that working conditions had improved for teachers as administrative work had been reduced and working hours had been cut.
However, Murch successfully proposed members should be balloted for industrial action if the government reneged on its three-year pay deal.
Meanwhile, a teacher revealed at the NUT conference on Sunday that some schools are employing bouncers to provide “crowd control” services and cover absent teachers’ lessons.
Recruitment agencies have advertised for people with prison, security or police experience to cover lessons, while one London school has employed two permanent cover staff from a professional doormen agency. Applicants do not need teaching qualifications and are eligible as long as they have been CRB checked.
Schools secretary Ed Balls is expected to launch the results of a year-long review into children’s behaviour at schools later this week.