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ASCL wants ‘fully-funded, above-inflation’ pay rise in 2024

The ASCL school leaders’ union has demanded a “fully-funded, above inflation pay increase” next year and a plan to “fully restore the erosion of pay” since 2010.

In its evidence to the School Teachers’ Review Body, which makes recommendations on teacher and leadership pay every year, the union said once the “real-terms value of pay has been restored”, annual uplifts must “continue to be fully-funded” and keep pace with inflation.

It comes after the government warned the STRB it wanted to see pay rises return to a “more sustainable” level than in the last two years, when pay rose by 5 per cent and 6.5 per cent respectively.

The government’s analysis has also predicted schools will only have headroom to raise spending by 1.2 per cent next year, which would only cover a rise of around 2 per cent. Inflation stood at 4 per cent in January.

But today ASCL called for a “fully-funded, above inflation pay increase across all pay ranges for September 2024”.

This must be accompanied “by a longer-term commitment and funded strategic plan to fully restore the erosion of pay which has taken place since 2010, together with the re-establishment of previous differentials between pay ranges, particularly as classroom teachers move into leadership”.

Pay still below 2010 in real-terms

Last year, unions accepted a 6.5 per cent pay rise for most teachers, averting further strikes by the National Education Union and potential walk-outs by the NASUWT, NAHT and ASCL, which balloted for strike action for the first time.

But Institute for Fiscal Studies analysis shows pay for experienced teachers fell by around 12 per cent in real-terms between 2010 and 2022.

“Once the real-terms value of pay has been restored, that annual uplifts must continue to be fully funded and must at least keep pace with RPI [inflation] each year,” ASCL said.

ASCL also called for “sufficient funding to be provided to ensure that schools can afford to implement these commitments”.

The union also wants the scope of the STRB and the school teachers’ pay and conditions document to be “broadened” to include those in business leadership roles, many of whom are currently still paid on support staff pay scales.

An ASCL survey of more than 700 business leadership members found 70 per cent felt their pay was below that of senior leadership colleagues. Half said they intended to leave their role within three years.

Louise Hatswell, ASCL’s pay specialist, said staff shortages had “reached crisis point”.

“Our evidence clearly demonstrates that, in order to address this, there is an overwhelming need for a significant, above inflation pay increase for all teachers and school leaders.”

ASCL also savaged the government over delays to the pay-setting process.

The government’s response to the STRB usually comes right at the end of the summer term, after schools have prepared budgets.

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