Lib Dems demand new money to fund pay rise for teachers

Leading Liberal Democrats have written to the Chancellor calling for new, dedicated money from the Treasury to fund teachers’ future pay rises and are seeking cross-party support. 

The call comes amid fears that the Government will accept a pay rise for teachers, but won’t provide schools extra money to fund for it.

The Liberal Democrats MP argues that schools are “under huge financial pressures” and it is the responsibility of the Chancellor to “save them and their pupils from the inevitable consequences of a further erosion in the funding.”

The School Teachers Pay Review body has been looking into the issue of teachers pay and has made recommendations to the Government, which Education Ministers are due to respond to shortly.

The party’s Education Spokesperson Layla Moran has written to MPs seeking cross-party support for the campaign.

Commenting, Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson Layla Moran said: 

“We have seen school spending slashed, resulting in a narrowing curriculum and dedicated, hardworking teachers being forced out of the profession they love. Up and down the country, parents are already fundraising to pay for resources for schools. This shows the scale of the problem.

“Our hardworking teachers deserve a pay rise, but quite simply schools will not be able to cope if they have to fund pay increases from existing budgets.

“Despite raising this issue several times in Parliament, Education Ministers are refusing to say if they will give schools the money they need to pay for any increases in pay.

“Cross-party support is building. The Government must commit to new funding to ensure teachers get a decent pay rise without placing extra pressure on school budgets.”

* Tahir Maher is the Wednesday editor and a member of the LDV editorial team

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This entry was posted in education, News and Op-eds.
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19 Comments

  • If additional spending is being advocated, the source of that spending should be indicated

    So. What is going to be cut to finance this extra spend? Or what (or more correctly who) is going to taxed?

  • Why are the teachers a special case? All public sector workers should get a rise, not just the ones in the “sexy” professions.

  • Teaching is a ‘sexy’ profession? The (admittedly few) teachers I know would likely be somewhat bemused by that assertion.

    I’m not going to comment in comparison to other public sector professions, but teachers in the UK are generally underpaid and overworked, especially considering what we actually expect them to do. A sizeable number of teachers don’t stick with the profession and there are also big shortages of teachers in particular subject areas – better pay could make a difference.

    Its been said by some in this party that we need to become the party of education (Labour have the NHS, the Tories security) – well, we can come up with all the policy ideas we like about how to improve education in this country, but if we can’t find enough good quality teachers, then none of that is really going to amount to much.

  • I’m not going to comment in comparison to other public sector professions, but teachers in the UK are generally underpaid and overworked, especially considering what we actually expect them to do. A sizeable number of teachers don’t stick with the profession and there are also big shortages of teachers in particular subject areas – better pay could make a difference.

    Its been said by some in this party that we need to become the party of education (Labour have the NHS, the Tories security) – well, we can come up with all the policy ideas we like about how to improve education in this country, but if we can’t find enough good quality teachers, then none of that is really going to amount to much.

  • John Marriott 30th May '18 - 10:03pm

    Enhanced teachers’ pay is not what is going to put state education right, particularly at secondary level. We should be asking if alleged poor pay is really why so many are quitting before their time. We are where we are today ironically thanks to the way that educational reform in the middle of the 20th century was badly handled by politicians and the educational establishment alike. The move towards comprehensivisation and the introduction of pupil centred so called ‘progressive education’ led to the later counter reaction from politicians starting with James Callaghan’s 1976 Ruskin College speech and a decade or so later to the introduction under Kenneth Baker of the National Curriculum, the new GCSE, Grant Maintained Schools, LMS (Local Management of Schools), and, most significantly, the emasculation of LEAs which brought about the Academies Movement ending with the establishment of Free Schools.

    The pressure society has placed on the teaching service to deliver these changes, dealing with challenging behaviour from students, parents and politicians alike, with expectations that success is guaranteed with no place for failure, has contributed massively to an exodus that no amount of money will prevent.

  • @JoeB

    So which Lib Dem manifesto tax rise you outlined should the government be implementing to achieve this pay rise for teachers?

    And raising corporation tax is an exceptionally bad idea in conjunction with Brexit. Business is already tetchy because of the huge damage Brexit is causing and will cause (both the uncertainty and the modeled negative impact), so giving more reasons for business to move abroad (or fold) through higher corporation tax (in effect reduced margins) is highly irresponsible. I appreciate a corporation tax rise is fine in a Lib Dem manifesto, since a Lib Dem government would stop Brexit. But you can’t just cut and paste bits of a manifesto in isolation in suggestions (demands) for government to do.

  • @John Marriott

    I agree completely. Throwing money at this particular problem won’t solve it. The principle of the malaise you outline is very much replicable in my profession, the medical profession, which is also suffering from poor retention and emigration. And it isn’t about money. Doctors have never been better renumerated as we are now, but never has morale been so poor and emigration and abandonment from the profession so high.

  • As a former teacher/lecturer I concur with James and John. Basic teachers pay is at an appropriate level. Don’t have the space here to fully address this issue, but I suggest the powers that be look at 1) more money to employ experienced teachers at top of pay scales. Too many schools run with n.q.ts, to the obvious detriment of the kids education. 2) too much cash going to “super heads” (pathetic Tory concept), including those getting £650 per day to cover those schools who can not fill a head teacher vacancy.
    3) it’s not lack of cash driving teachers out, it’s micro and macho management.

  • William Fowler 31st May '18 - 7:53am

    You have to look at the actual tax takes on corp tax and CGT to see if putting up rates would bring in any more money or whether it is being done as general principle of not liking business and people making too much money. Before there are any tax rises for teaches there needs to be a pay cap for those involved at the upper end of the profession, no reason for anyone in the state school sector to be on more than 50k.

  • William Fowler 31st May '18 - 7:55am

    meant pay rises and teachers, hah!

  • Not the space here to fully analyse this issue, but as a former teacher/lecturer can I concur with the others here. Suggest the powers that be look at 1) lack of funding that encourages schools to employ inexperienced n.q.ts at the expense of experienced teachers at the top of pay scales. 2) Over paid “super heads” (absurd Tory concept), including those on £650 per day to cover vacancies in schools who can’t get a head. 3) teachers driven out by micro and macho management . The prospect of true professional autonomy would be a start but at the end of the day politicians don’t trust teachers.

  • Peter Martin 31st May '18 - 9:12am

    So. What is going to be cut to finance this extra spend? Or what (or more correctly who) is going to taxed?

    This is how it works for a local council but it doesn’t work like that for a National Govt which issues its own currency by spending it into the economy. At Westminster level the spending comes first and the taxation follows. Otherwise there wouldn’t be any money in the economy for us to pay our taxes in the first place.

    So the real question is: do we need extra spending on more teachers, more doctors, more nurses, more on training new teachers etc? Do we have enough people available in the country? Can we spend more without it simply causing inflation as it would if we had “too much money chasing too few resources”?

    You can’t raise extra spending money simply by raising taxes. Tax rises depress the economy leading to reduced revenues. In fact there’s no need for that in any case.

  • John Barrett 31st May '18 - 9:40am

    Some years ago the Scottish Government implemented the McCrone report which gave teachers a 23% pay rise over three years, which had little effect on the numbers teaching or the standards in education.

    Many friends, who were teachers at the time, would often complain about the lack of resources in the class for pupils to work with. There was never any thought that the steady annual increase in the education budget was swallowed up by increasing salaries at the expense of everything else. From memory the education budget nearly doubled over 10 years.

    Now, many of those teachers have taken early retirement with pensions passed on those increased salaries and are enjoying life to the full.

    MPs supporting this call should be aware of the risks that come with simply supporting more money for teachers, at the expense of the rest of the education system. It did not deliver the improvements in education north of the border and I doubt it will do the same south of the border either.

  • John Barrett 31st May '18 - 9:42am

    Typo alert – Passed should have been based

  • The School Teachers Pay Review body 2017 report https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/626153/59497_School_Teachers_Review_PRINT.PDF made the following recommendations:
    A 2% uplift to the minimum and maximum of the main pay range (MPR);
    • A 1% uplift to the minima and maxima of the upper pay range (UPR), the unqualified teacher pay range and the leading practitioner pay range;
    • A 1% uplift to the minima and maxima of the leadership group pay range and all head teacher group pay ranges; and,
    • A 1% uplift to the minima and maxima of the Teaching and Learning Responsibility (TLR) and Special Educational Needs (SEN) allowance ranges.
    It is for school leaders and governing bodies to implement these changes to the national pay framework in accordance with their pay policies and within the funding available .
    Looking ahead Economic uncertainty means that it is difficult to predict the future state of the labour market . However, we consider it likely that further uplifts of more than 1% will be required to elements of the pay framework in the coming years to make pay more competitive for teachers at all stages of their careers . Accordingly, the Department and other consultees should help school leaders and governing bodies in the effective management of pay within their budgets .
    The 2018 report may consequently recommend further uplifts of more than 1%.
    In 2018-19, tax receipts are forecast to reach their highest level since the 1980s. Relative to 2010, the taxman will be raising more from VAT and NICs, but less from income tax and substantially less from corporation tax. A handful of smaller, and, in some cases, new taxes have become more important. The treasury will face a number of challenges, including the fall in income tax receipts as a result of the growth in self-employment.

  • John Marriott 31st May '18 - 1:23pm

    For an interesting, if essentially biased critique on over 50 years of progressive education, I could recommend “Progressively Worse” by Robert Peal, published in 2014 by Civitas. The fact that Michael Gove considers Mr Peal “one of the brightest young voices in the education debate” may set alarm bells ringing in some quarters. However, although I cannot entirely agree with his broad conclusions, I share his views on much that has been done in the name of education since child centred learning was introduced in the 1960s.

  • David Evans 31st May '18 - 5:06pm

    John and John (Barrett and Marriott) bring a lot of knowledge backed up by experience and common sense to the discussion. There are for all political parties certain jobs/professions which are considered particularly ‘worthy’. For Conservatives it is those who are considered value adding – businessmen, company directors, bankers etc and defenders – police and armed forces, “People like us”. For Labour it is unionised workers – mainly in the public sector or ex-public sector now “People like we would like to believe we are”. For Lib Dems with their belief that education and self actualisation are key, it tends to be teachers, lecturers etc and the long stop helpers, social workers and NHS “People we believe help others (and ourselves) to become the best they can”.

    This results in a skewing of government spending for each party towards the people they support, and so can have unintended consequences. In coalition we made sure that Education and the NHS were protected more than other areas. However, this resulted in much bigger squeezes on other areas e.g. local government roads maintenance. Thus at a simplistic level children got a better education, but perhaps a few more were involved in road accidents.

    Extra money for teachers (but not in the rest of school education) is another example of a potential skewing which may lead to problems. If discipline is a problem as Steve indicates, spending on more classroom assistants may be the best option, not just more on teachers wages to compensate them for poor discipline.

    The one thing that would be wrong is for government to pay teachers substantially more by forcing cuts elsewhere in schooling.

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