The Government has announced a 3.1% pay increase for teachers which, on the face of it
seems to be a long awaited and well deserved pay award.
The problem is the detail that hasn’t been given the same amount of publicity is that it is unfunded.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said,
“This year’s pay award will be affordable for schools on average across the country, thanks to the Government’s investment in core schools funding”,
Funding to cover past increases to teacher pay and pensions, currently worth £2 billion in separate grant funding, will also be included in the national funding formula from 2021 rather than paid separately, reassuring schools that the funding will continue to be provided in their core budgets.
Schools have worked extremely hard to maintain already overstretched budgets throughout this pandemic and will potentially be penalised if they are in a “credit budget”, by not being able to reclaim additional costs incurred by COVID-19.
They have only recently set their 2020-2021 budgets and if they now have to deal with the impact of this pay rise without additional funds being allocated to cover it, they will not be able to maintain the level of support staff for example, or may have to reduce bought in services that are geared to provide essential support, such as Speech & Language Therapists or Mental Health counselling for our children.
The Government needs to continue with their commitment to see that teachers are awarded this pay rise that in my opinion they very much deserve, but also to ensure that schools are not left with an horrendous dilemma in order to deliver it.
Schools need to be allocated the additional funding to pay for this increase so our most vulnerable children are not effectively having to foot the bill.