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Pay freeze ‘hits teachers with 8 per cent pay cut since 2007’

A PAY freeze for teachers will mean that experienced staff have seen their salaries cut by 8 per cent since 2007, according to a leading economics think tank.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) warned today that ministers needed to provide above-inflation awards from next year to stop recruitment and retention problems from worsening.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson confirmed this week that the pay of most teachers in England would be frozen this year, with only those currently on less than £24,000 receiving a rise of just £250.

The IFS analysis indicates that the salaries of experienced teachers will be around 8 per cent lower in real terms than they were in 2007, while for less experienced staff the cut is between 4 and 5 per cent.

The report contrasts the fall in teachers’ pay with the average rise of 0.6 per cent across the economy over the same period.

IFS research fellow Luke Sibieta said: “It is astounding that teacher pay levels remain so far below what they were before the financial crisis in 2007,” adding that the drop had “almost certainly contributed to the worsening picture on teacher recruitment and retention.”

National Education Union joint general secretary Kevin Courtney said: “The government must act urgently to quickly restore the real-terms losses inflicted on the profession if we are to value teachers and avoid creating yet more recruitment and retention problems.”

Dr Patrick Roach, general secretary of the NASUWT union, said: “This is having a damaging impact on recruitment, retention and morale, particularly in the context of the vital work teachers are doing serving on the front line during the pandemic.”

Louise Hatswell, of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “The government has spent the pandemic praising teachers and education leaders for their sterling efforts in keeping our schools and colleges running but its words have a hollow ring when the reality is it had no intention of rewarding them and instead imposed a further pay freeze.”

A government spokesperson said that it was “enormously grateful” for teachers’ hard work during the pandemic, and that it remained committed to introducing a £30,000 starting salary for all teachers.

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