Voice Official Response: Independent review of school teachers’ pay and conditions in Wales: call for views
Background: The Welsh Government will shortly acquire responsibility for setting school teachers’ pay and conditions in Wales. Education Secretary Kirsty Williams announced an Independent Task and Finish Group to review current arrangements for teachers pay and conditions and consider where and how the system could be improved. The group issued a call for views.
Summary: The reforms and effective breaking up of the national pay structure in England and Wales have created confusion within the profession. This, coupled with the under-funding of schools, has led to the depressing of teachers’ pay to the extent that a significant number of our members are have told us that they are getting no pay rise at all. We call for the creation of true national pay ranges with a spine point structure and regular increments for teachers in Wales, making starting salaries, routes, prospects and timelines for pay progression clear to all of those contemplating a career in teaching.
The most vital point is that teachers’ pay in Wales is not downgraded when compared to teachers’ pay in England. If teachers’ pay compares unfavourably to pay in England, there will be disastrous consequences for education in Wales, and recruitment and retention concerns will undoubtedly be greatly exacerbated. We have been told by the First Minister and by the Cabinet Secretary for Education that “no teacher will be worse off”. However, this needs to be a cast-iron guarantee written into the Task and Finish Group’s conclusions and always heeded by whichever mechanism teachers’ pay is determined in Wales.