Pay and Pensions

Commenting on the publication of the STRB’s recommendations on teachers’ pay for 2016/17,

including a 1% increase, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“The Government has been told in the clearest terms by the STRB that its misguided policy of cutting teachers’ pay is damaging our schools.

“The STRB, unlike the Government, has recognised the mounting crisis in recruitment and retention. It has told the Government that a pay increase ‘significantly higher than 1%’ is needed and that schools need more funding to allow this. It has also told the Government that it should make preparations for a higher increase in the next couple of years. Nicky Morgan’s shameful response is to ignore all of this in her statement to Parliament.

“Teachers have suffered six years of pay freezes and pay limits which have cut their pay by almost 15% in real terms. At the same time, workload and stress are increasing and funding cuts are leading to higher class sizes, cuts in resources and cuts in staffing. No wonder graduates are turning away from teaching as a career and serving teachers are leaving in increasing numbers.

“Instead of addressing pay seriously, Nicky Morgan tried to push through measures allowing teachers to be forced into accepting pay cuts by moving down the pay scale. Older women teachers in particular would have been hit hard by this hugely discriminatory proposal. We have already seen increasing disparities and discrimination in pay since pay decisions were devolved to school level. Fortunately the STRB has thrown out this proposal – yet another welcome instance of Nicky Morgan’s ideas being rejected.

“Nicky Morgan is now trying to bury her head in the sand and ignore what the STRB has told her. The NUT is hugely disappointed that the STRB decided to accept the 1% pay limit this year but strongly supports the STRB’s view that the Government must urgently find more money for schools to allow them to employ more and better-paid teachers.”

                                                      Pay Progression

Since the 1920’s teachers’ pay has been structured around annual increments. Teachers could rightly expect to progress up the pay scale as they gained experience. However, following the imposition of ‘performance – pay’ the government is encouraging heads and governors to decide who gets a pay rise and who doesn’t.

Performance related pay is divisive, demoralising and discriminatory. International research shows that it fails to improve student achievement. It is clearly about cutting the pay bill. Whilst last year most teachers in Islington continued to achieve pay progression, with the attacks on funding this may not be the case this year.

Against this background ITA has negotiated a pay policy with the local authority which attempts to negate some of the worst excesses of the government’s plans. This can be downloaded below. You should be making sure that your school has adopted the LA policy, or that the one adopted by your school has been checked against union policy.

Summary of the LA Pay Policy

1.      Salaries should be reviewed no later than 31st October and teachers should receive written notification of their pay determination and if there is no progression  the basis upon which the decision was made.

2.      Pay reviews are based on staff appraisal. The only evidence used will be that available through the performance management/appraisal process.

3.      Decisions not to progress up the pay spine will be made in circumstances where concerns about standards of performance have been raised in writing as part of the performance management process. (no surprises)

4.      Progression on the upper pay scale will be where their performance over at least two academic years in the school has been in line with the appraisal policy. (i.e. they have two successful performance management reviews)

5.      Progression within the upper pay scale does not require an application. Applications are only required for teachers moving from the main to upper pay ranges. (crossing the threshold)

6.      For new appointees the teacher’s performance appraisal reports from previous schools can be considered.


Don’t suffer in silence – collectivise

Being rejected for progression can make teachers feel like failures, but it is not staff who are failing but the system we are working under. Unreasonable workloads, unachievable targets, a lack of time and resources all make it harder to meet the ever growing demands put on teachers and schools. Performance pay is designed to be divisive but trade unions have always said ‘unity is strength’. If colleagues are rejected for pay progression don’t just accept it.  The denial of pay progression for just one year will have a cumulative effect on the amount they receive in future years which could amount to over £15 000

 They can appeal as individuals (see below) but alongside this we should be looking for collective school action. Colleagues being rejected isn’t only their personal concern, it’s an issue for all teachers in the school. Next time it could be you.


As reps as well as collectivising our concerns we need to support people making individual appeals. Appeals can be made on the following grounds (although this list is not exhaustive): incorrectly applied the schools pay policy, incorrectly applied any provision of the STPD. , failure to have proper regard for statutory guidance, failure to take proper account of relevant evidence, was biased, unlawful discrimination.

Good advice on preparing for pay appeals can be found on the union’s website at

Informal stage

If the member of staff is not satisfied they should seek to resolve this by discussing the matter informally with the decision maker (usually the head) within 10 days of the receipt of the written notice of the pay determination.

Formal stage 

The staff member should set down in writing the grounds for questioning the pay decision within 10 days of the notification of the decision being appealed against or the informal discussion.

There will be a hearing with the person making the decision at which they are entitled to be accompanied by a union representative.

There is a further stage of appeal to a panel of governors

general office,
21 Dec 2015, 06:28
general office,
21 Dec 2015, 06:25
general office,
25 Jul 2016, 04:17