How much do teachers earn? NEU members threaten more strikes in July

·5-min read
Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the NEU (centre), alongside teachers on the picket line  (Kirsty O’Connor / PA Wire)
Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the NEU (centre), alongside teachers on the picket line (Kirsty O’Connor / PA Wire)

Teachers will take fresh strike action in July if their long-running pay dispute has not been resolved by mid-June, the National Education Union has announced.

The NEU said on Thursday that Education Secretary Gillian Keegan could avoid further walkouts if she addressed salaries and other issues, including recruitment.

Teachers in England have rejected a pay offer from the Government that would have seen wages rise by 4.5 per cent on average next year, alongside a one-off payment of £1,000 this year.

General secretaries Dr Mary Bousted and Kevin Courtney said the minister now has the School Teachers’ Review Body’s report on pay, following a meeting of the union’s executives.

“She has the power to reject, accept or amend the STRB recommendations. She has the power to fully fund her decision”, they said.

“If she makes the right call, she can start to move our schools in a better direction.

“She can fund schools properly, start to address the decline in teacher pay and its consequences for the appalling state of teacher recruitment and retention.

“If she makes the right decisions, she could also avoid further strike action.”

The NEU are next set to meet on June 17.

Members of the National Education Union (NEU) in schools in England have held three regional and five national strike days since February.

How much do teachers earn?

A teacher’s salary is determined by the school’s governing board and is based on an appraisal.

It depends on whether a teacher is qualified or not, and where they are based.

Typically, a teacher’s salary ranges from £28,000 to £38,810, and a teacher on the upper scale can earn between £43, 684 and £50,614.

By September 2023, a teacher’s starting salary is set to be £30,000.

On average, teaching assistants earn around £19,955.56 per year in the UK.

Why are teachers striking?

Teacher’s salaries have fallen over the past decade, with senior teachers experiencing a 13 per cent real-terms drop in salaries between 2010 and 2022 - which is the equivalent of a £6,600 pay cut - according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

The majority of state school teachers in England and Wales had a five per cent pay rise in 2022, but unions say this actually results in a pay cut, as inflation is more than 10 per cent.

Similarly, in Scotland, teachers rejected a five per cent increase.

Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the NEU, accused ministers of failing to negotiate meaningfully on pay and said teachers had been “forced to stand up”.

She added that teachers struggling to make ends meet had been left facing a “catch-22” over whether or not to take part.

This is an insulting offer from a government which simply does not value teachers

NEU’s Dr Mary Bousted and Kevin Courtney

What has the Government said?

A Department for Education spokesperson said last month: “There are no great schools without great teachers, which is why we are making the highest pay awards in a generation - five per cent for experienced teachers and more for those early in their careers, including an 8.9 per cent increase to starting salary.

“We are also investing an additional £2 billion in schools next year and £2 billion the year after, taking school funding to its highest ever level.

“After two years of disrupted education for young people, strike action is simply not a reasonable solution.”

The spokesperson later added about the offer: “The Government and the education unions – NAHT, ASCL, NEU, and NASUWT – have engaged in intensive discussions over the last 10 days.

“The Government has put forward a fair and reasonable offer, backed with funding for schools. The offer provides an average 4.5 per cent pay rise for next year, puts £1,000 into the pockets of teachers as a one-off payment for this year, and commits to reducing workload by five hours each week.

“This is a good deal for teachers that acknowledges their hard work and dedication.”

What have the NEU said?

Last month, after teachers in England voted to reject the government’s pay offer Dr Mary Bousted and Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretaries of the National Education, said:

“This resounding rejection of the Government’s offer should leave Gillian Keegan in no doubt that she will need to come back to the negotiating table with a much better proposal.

“The offer shows an astounding lack of judgement and understanding of the desperate situation in the education system.”

The statement added: “No teacher wants to be on strike. Nor can they accept this offer that does nothing to address the decades of below-inflation pay increases making them the worst-paid teachers in the UK. The offer will do nothing to stem the teacher recruitment and retention crisis which is so damaging to our children and young people’s education.

“The education secretary has united the profession in its outrage at this insulting pay offer. It is now for her to rectify that situation by starting to value education. The NEU is ready as we have stated all along to negotiate with ministers, but this time we hope a lesson has been learnt. Gillian Keegan needs to start negotiations with respect for the profession she is supposedly representing in Government.”

The union also addressed teachers and said: “To parents we say that we have no wish to disrupt education, indeed our action is aimed at getting the Government to invest in the education of this generation of children and the people who teach them.

“We are asking our school reps to plan with head teachers to ensure that year 11 and year 13 students have a full programme of education on the upcoming strike days.”