Thank you for contacting me about your concerns with regard to the Secretary of State for Education’s failure to accept the pay review’s recommendation of a 3.5% increase of all pay and allowances and the funding that schools in Sheffield will receive.
I share your concern that this year’s pay award continues to fall short of what is needed because the 3.5% award will only be implemented for teachers on the main pay range, whereas teachers on the upper and leadership pay ranges will receive 2% and 1.5% respectively. As the current rate of inflation is 2.6%, this represents a pay cut for the latter. This follows many years of pay freezes and pay caps, and will further demoralise our most experienced teachers and leaders, thereby further damaging retention.
I agree with your point that this pay award needs to be fully funded, as it is unreasonable to expect schools to fund the first 1% from their own budgets, given the series of cost pressures which have already caused funding per pupil in England to fall by about 8% in real terms over the past eight years, according to analysis by the Institute for Fiscal Studies. When teachers in many cases are buying their own basic supplies, it is clear that schools cannot afford further additional costs. A further hit on their budget will undoubtedly have a direct impact on pupils, as schools face the difficulties of having to make further cuts to the curriculum and student support services.
Whilst I am pleased that parents are willing to do all they can to support their local schools, it is unacceptable that schools are having to ask parents to pay for school supplies for their children and extra for those who may not be able to afford the supplies that their child needs due to these funding cuts.
Schools in our constituency, the rest of Sheffield and across the country are facing severe and very damaging financial pressures, as well as difficulties in recruiting and retaining teachers and leaders. There is a pressing need for sufficient teachers and funding, but the proposed pay award fails to address the difficulties in respect of the former while intensifying the pressures in respect of the latter.
I have in fact already written to both the Secretary of State for Education and you can view the response below.
Thank you again for writing to me about this very important issue.