Pay Rise for School Support Staff


Local authorities have offered school support staff a flat pay rise of up to 10.5%, £1,925, with unions saying they plan to “consider” the proposal. The offer would mean a pay increase of 10.5% for the lowest-paid support staff employees and a rise of just 4.04% for the highest-paid staff.

The offer is backdated to 1 April and includes an increase of one day to all employees’ annual leave entitlement from next year. It also includes the scrapping of the lowest pay point on the scale from 1 April 2023.

Other proposals, including a one-off Covid-19 recognition payment and the introduction of a home working allowance, have been rejected.

Unions had called for an increase in pay of £2,000 or retail price index (RPI) inflation, whichever is higher.

RPI inflation reached 11.8%  last month.

The letter states: “The National Employers hope this final offer can quickly form the basis of an agreement between the two sides so that employees, who continue to provide such critical support to their communities, can receive a pay rise as soon as practicable.”

Most local authority schools use the pay scales and though academies have freedom to deviate from them, many also follow the guidelines.

Rehana Azam, GMB national secretary, said the union would meet with representatives and members to discuss next steps.

“While real-terms pay cuts risk exacerbating the staffing crisis, we recognise this is an offer that warrants further scrutiny so we can assess its impact on our members,” she added.

Unison head of education and local government Mike Short said that the pay offer was “better than employees might have expected, given the low pay rises of recent years”.

“It shows local government employers are beginning to understand the financial nightmare school and council staff are living through. But it’s not enough to make up for a decade and more of lost wages,” he added.

And Unite acting national officer Clare Keogh said: “Council workers have already suffered over a decade of below-inflation wage rises and this is another pay cut dressed up as a pay increase.”

The pay rise, if agreed, could place another burden on school budgets. Last week, school leaders warned that an “unfunded” increase in the teacher pay award had left them facing budget deficits of tens of thousands of pounds next year.

Louise Hatswell, pay specialist at the Association of School and College Leaders, said schools might have to consider cuts, to meet the cost of the rise.

“Schools are facing a very severe shortage of support staff - as they are teaching staff - and improved pay would obviously help address the situation. However, as with the teachers’ pay award, it will be very difficult for schools to afford the cost of the proposed pay settlement without additional funding from the government,” she said. “School leaders are likely to be left in a position of having to make extremely difficult decisions, which may include having to cut educational provision in order to be able to meet the cost of pay awards.

“It is an absolutely desperate situation and the government must act to support schools better financially.”

By Callum Mason, tes.com

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