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AoC responds to Institute for Fiscal Studies report on college staff pay

30 March 2023

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Responding to the Institute for Fiscal Studies report What has happened to college teacher pay in England? David Hughes, AoC chief executive said: “This report lays bare the staffing crisis in colleges in England. Staff in colleges have taken the brunt of 12-years of austerity and funding cuts, with lecturers earning now 21% less than their counterparts in schools. With the DfE improving the offer for schools just this week, that 21% pay gap will only widen further unless there is more funding for colleges to put into pay packets.

"The pay gap to schools is big, but many college lecturers are often skilled in their trades, as dual professionals, and are in great demand in the labour market. Colleges are reporting lecturers leaving for highly-paid jobs in industry where their skills are in short supply.

“This staffing crisis in colleges, means that courses are having having to be withdrawn or restricted. The irony of this is profound, because fewer lecturers, fewer courses means the skills shortages in the labour market will of course get worse, making it even more likely that college lecturers will leave their teaching roles. The impact will be fewer trained builders, health workers and technicians and a brake on the UK’s economy.

“That is why we have called on DfE ministers to inject £400 million into college funding to allow colleges to at least match the schools pay awards. Without this new revenue funding colleges will not be able to provide the broad range of courses they do to support their local labour markets. Recruitment and retention in colleges is listed as a code red in the Department for Education’s risk register so deep-down Gillian Keegan and Robert Halfon do understand this issue. I just hope that they can persuade Treasury colleagues who hold the purse strings.

“Colleges are public sector organisations just like schools, so the Chancellor needs to start treating teachers and other staff in colleges the same as teachers in schools, close the pay gap and fund their pay rises. If he fails to do this then the highly-skilled economy he seeks will fall at the first hurdle.”

Notes to editors

You can read the full Institute for Fiscal Studies report and press release here.