Give teachers 5% pay raise, principals’ group says

Pupils raise hands in a classroom. Stock image.

A body representing school principals is calling for a 5% increase in teachers’ pay to be funded by the UK government.

The Association of School and College Leaders, in a statement, said teachers’ morale is at “an all-time low”.

The body said no pay award was agreed in 2015/16, with just a 1% increase awarded the following year, with no increase agreed for 2017/18.

A spokesperson for the Association said: “The teaching profession has faced unprecedented levels of change over the last seven years, including the introduction and implementation of new assessments, and increased accountability, but has at the same time seen its pay fall in real terms. Consequently, the highly committed and skilled teaching profession in Northern Ireland finds its morale at an all-time low.

“As a matter of justice and fairness, all teachers and school leaders deserve an annual cost-of-living increase to ensure that their salaries keep pace with rising costs, so that no teacher or school leader is worse off in real terms from year to year.

“In 2015-16 no award was agreed and this was followed by an uplift of just 1% for 2016-17. No increase has been awarded for 2017-18.”

The spokesperson continued: “The Association of School and College Leaders is therefore calling for a 5% increase in teachers’ and school leaders’ salaries for 2018-19. Not only would this see teachers and school leaders more fairly rewarded, but it should contribute to the resolution of the industrial action short of strike that has been impacting on schools in Northern Ireland for over a year.”

The statement added: School budgets are, however, at breaking point and the pay rise must be funded by the United Kingdom government.”

Robert Wilson, the Association of School and College Leaders’ Regional Officer in Northern Ireland, said: “At a time when many schools in Northern Ireland are struggling to make ends meet, and with budgets likely to be further reduced, it is vital that not only are teachers and school leaders given a decent pay rise after years of pay caps and freezes imposed by the government, but also that any pay award is fully funded by the government in Westminster through the Barnett Formula.”

Mr Wilson added: “We should not be in a position where a school’s financial viability is compromised further because a much-needed realignment of pay is not fully funded centrally.”

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