Union chiefs call on Gillian Keegan to publish pay review body’s recommendations

Teacher members of the National Education Union in England are set to stage fresh strikes on Wednesday and Friday this week.

Education union leaders have called on the Government to urgently publish the School Teachers’ Review Body’s (STRB) pay recommendations.

The hold-up is causing “anxiety” in schools and “frustrating headteachers” who need to plan budgets, Education Secretary Gillian Keegan has been told.

The call comes before teacher members of the National Education Union (NEU) in England stage fresh strikes on Wednesday and Friday this week.

Sports days, school trips and transition days for pupils are set to be disrupted amid the walkouts in an ongoing row over pay.

In a joint letter to Ms Keegan, education union leaders said the Government’s refusal to “properly negotiate” with them over pay risks “dragging out the current dispute”.

The NEU – alongside the NASUWT teaching union, the NAHT school leaders’ union and the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) – are balloting their members in England to take action in the autumn term.

The Government offered teachers a £1,000 one-off payment for the current school year (2022/23) and an average 4.5% rise for staff next year after intensive talks with the education unions earlier this year.

But all four education unions rejected the offer and the decision on teachers’ pay in England for next year has been passed to the independent STRB.

In May, the Sunday Times reported the STRB has recommended a 6.5% pay rise for teachers but the Government is yet to formally publish the pay review body’s recommendation.

The letter to Ms Keegan, signed by NAHT’s Paul Whiteman, NASUWT’s Patrick Roach, NEU’s Mary Bousted and Kevin Courtney, ASCL’s Geoff Barton and TUC’s Paul Nowak, said: “There is no good reason for any delay in their publication.

“Further delay is leading to continuing anxiety across all schools and frustrating head teachers and school leaders’ ability to plan and manage already difficult budgets for the forthcoming school year.”

It added: “It is in everyone’s interest that the current dispute is brought to a swift resolution. The ball is firmly in government’s court.

“We urge you to publish the STRB recommendations without delay and engage immediately in meaningful negotiations with unions.”

A Department for Education (DfE) spokesperson said: “Any strike action is hugely damaging. We have made a fair and reasonable pay offer to teachers, recognising their incredible work and commitment.

“Thousands of schools received significant additional funding as part of the extra £2 billion of investment we are providing both this year and next.

“As a result, school funding will be at its highest level in history next year, as measured by the IFS (Institute for Fiscal Studies).”

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