Part 1 of the 17th report of the School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB) is being published today, covering a range of matters referred to them in March 2007. I am grateful for the thorough attention the STRB has given to these matters. Copies of the report and of my detailed response to it are available in the Vote Office, the Printed Paper Office, both Libraries of the House and at www.teachernet.gov.uk/pay.
The STRB has made recommendations for values of pay scales, spines and allowances, including leadership group pay covering three years from September 2008 to August 2010. They have recommended a 2.45 per cent. increase from September 2008 and have made recommendations that would give teachers further increases of 2.3 per cent. from September 2009 and 2010.
I very much welcome the framework of predictability that these three-year recommendations will give, which will assist long-term strategic decision-making by local authorities and schools. The multi-year figures and processes proposed by the STRB provide an approach which is in accordance with the Government’s stated policy on public sector pay, which is for awards that are consistent with the achievement of the CPI inflation target of 2 per cent., are affordable, represent value for money for taxpayers and reflect the labour market position of workforces.
As regards schools in England, the 2.1 per cent. minimum funding guarantee which was announced in the school funding settlement on 12 November 2007 is based on a cautious and realistic assessment of the wide range of cost pressures schools will face both from pay and non-pay. I am therefore confident that these figures will be manageable over the next three year period.
I propose therefore to accept the STRB’s recommendation of a 2.45 per cent. award payable from September 2008, and to accept the figures of 2.3 per cent. from September 2009 and September 2010 which they have indicated in their report. Consistent with their report, I propose to set the STRB a remit in the course of 2008 to enable them to ensure that the increases they have proposed for 2009 and 2010 continue to be appropriate in the light of latest recruitment and retention data, and wider economic and labour market conditions. I should however make clear that it is my firm view at this stage that the increases set out in the recommendations in relation to 2009-2011 are the right ones. There would need to be clear evidence of a significant and material change in these factors to justify any change to these figures. The STRB would also need to take into account the fact that schools’ budgets will have been set assuming the current figures.
The STRB’s recommendations also include enhancements to the salaries of some categories of teacher in inner and outer London and that there should be a review over a longer timescale of the current regional pay bands. I also propose to accept these recommendations.
The review body has also made some recommendations on the unqualified teachers’ pay scale. These are detailed and technical matters on which I would like to take the views of consultees before proposing how these matters should be resolved. My detailed response contains further information on both these issues.