This week the Department for Education (DfE) announced a pay rise for school teachers of up to 3.5 per cent in September.
In response, David Hughes, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges, said: “Teachers and lecturers across all parts of the education sector do brilliant things, work tirelessly and help transform lives daily. So, I am pleased that the government has largely accepted the recommendations of the School Teachers’ Review Body and removed the 1% cap on pay in schools. I am very worried, however, about what this means for college staff where pay has been lagging for some time. Much more needs to be done to ensure everybody working in education is recognised and rewarded and this must include a renewed focus on colleges.
“The median pay for teachers in colleges is currently £30,000 - £7,000 less than their counterparts in schools. As a result, colleges are struggling to retain and recruit teachers, particularly in science, engineering and maths – areas vital for the successful delivery of the country’s industrial strategy and to ensure economic prosperity.
"We have been working closely with DfE to analyse and assess the funding gap for post-16 education and skills. If we want to deliver a truly world-class academic and technical educational system, we need to properly invest in it. We are confident that the evidence we are gathering with DfE will support a bid into the next spending review for this to become a longer-term reality.
“In the short term, though, the picture is more worrying for colleges. The school teacher pay award is being funded by DfE from its own budgets. We fear this means that, after a decade of austerity, DfE will struggle to offer anything by way of a corresponding college pay grant to support a matched increase for college staff in the next two years. That raises the prospect that college lecturer pay will fall even further behind school teacher pay; it also puts at serious risk the drive for more STEM skills and the implementation of T Levels.”