The education secretary, Gavin Williamson, has asked the School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB) to consider a ‘flatter’ pay structure, as it begins consideration of the 2020 pay award.

At the beginning of September the government announced that it planned to raise starting salaries for new teachers to £30,000 by September 2022. It also indicated there will be an ‘uplift’ in salaries to ensure that, when the new starting salary is introduced, early career teachers are not on a lower salary than new recruits. Mr Williamson has now asked the STRB to set out ‘additional advice to schools on the pay progression pathway for classroom teachers’, and has said that he will provide written evidence to the board that will present ‘a strong case for schools to move towards a relatively flatter pay progression structure than is currently typical.’

Mr Williamson has also asked for the STRB’s advice on the pay award for the 2020/21 academic year, and as has become usual, asked the board to ‘ensure that any proposals are affordable across the school system as a whole’.  For the 2019/20 academic year Mr Williamson’s predecessor as secretary of state, Damian Hinds, recommended a 2.75 per cent pay increase for teachers. However earlier this month four unions - ASCL, NAHT, NEU and Voice - called on Mr Williamson, who was appointed as secretary of state in July, to set aside this recommendation. In a letter to Mr Williamson the four unions pointed out that 2.75 per cent is below the current rates of increase in both RPI inflation and average earnings in the wider economy, and that the government had not provided schools with sufficient funding to meet the increase. The unions proposed that he should instead implement a fully-funded 5 per cent increase, but to date the secretary of state has given no indication that he will do so. 

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