The UK government is seeking to increase teachers’ starting salaries in England by over 16% in the next two years. The Department for Education has urged the school teacher review body (STRB) to lift the minimum for new teachers by 8.9% in September and a further 7.1% the following year. This would take qualified teachers’ starting salaries from £25,714 to £30,000 in September 2023. The government’s move is in response to its 2019 Conservative election manifesto. However, teachers with more experience will only see tapering rises, with the highest end of the pay scale increasing by just 2% in 2023-24. Experienced teachers and senior school leaders will receive an increase of just 3% in 2022-23 and 2% in 2023-24.
In its submission, the Department for Education stated that the pay rises would come from existing school budgets, creating a potential shortfall for other areas. On this basis, the department considered "substantially higher" increases to be not feasible, suggesting that pay increases across the board would eat into school funding. The pay rises for new teachers are intended to help to recruit and retain young teachers, with increased salaries for experienced teachers potentially seen as unnecessary on this point. However, the pay rises are not predicted to have a significant impact on retention rates, with only 0.25% improvement expected and approximately 1,000 more teachers staying in the profession.
Four main teaching unions submitted a joint appeal to the STRB, requesting equivalent pay increases for all teachers and school leaders. The National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) requested a 12% pay increase across the board. The National Education Union urged the STRB to recommend that all teachers and school leaders receive the same increases as proposed for new teachers and for the government to fully fund it.
In separate news, the University and College Union announced five more days of strikes this month, with staff at 68 universities planning a walkout over pay, pension and working conditions. Employers were said to have failed to make concessions, including on changes to pensions, which the union said could lead to cuts of 35% in retirement income for typical members. The strikes are expected to affect over a million students.