With salaries for headteachers in British state schools of up to £156,000 a year, only heads in Luxembourg earn more, according to figures from the Organisation for Economic and Co-operation and Development. Starting salaries of £61,000 also trump all but a handful of nations. Which begs the question: Why have members of the National Association of Headteachers (NAHT) decided to join the three other teaching unions in calling for strikes? Do they want even more money? The Sunday Times has more.
All four unions have rejected the government’s latest pay offer of a £1,000 one-off payment for 2022/23 on top of an earlier pay rise of 5.4% and an average 4.5% pay rise for staff in England in 2023/23.
Teachers in Scotland and Wales have already accepted pay offers of up to 14.6%.
Unions want their pay offers fully funded by new money from the Treasury, not taken from existing school budgets, which they say means there is less money to run the schools. They claim that just 0.5% of the pay deal they were offered is funded by additional money from the Treasury.
So far strike action has shut or partially closed about half of all state schools, but if the three main teaching unions and head teachers walked out on the same day this would cause much wider upheaval with schools closed fully for up to five days between autumn and Christmas.
The NEU wants a pay rise of 12%. If this were fully funded by the Treasury it would cost an additional £2.8 billion, based on government figures. To raise this through taxation the government would need to raise the basic rate of tax by 0.5p or the higher rate by 2p. The Institute for Fiscal Studies estimates that the maximum cost of an inflation-proof pay offer of about 10% would be around £1.2 billion.
The Government says it has already increased school budgets and added £2 billion in school funding over the next two years.
Worth reading in full.
Stop Press: If you want to understand what’s the teachers’ strikes are really about, read this piece in UnHerd about Daniel Kebede, the far left incoming General Secretary of the NEU. Last summer, Kebede said at a Socialist Workers Party’s Marxism conference that the strikes were about “taking back control of an education system from a brutally racist state… It is much more than about the issue of pay, it is about reorganising society, where we are free from racism and free from oppression.”
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