By Thu Tam – Translated by Anh Quan
By Thu Tam – Translated by Anh Quan
Nadhim Zahawi has asked the Treasury to give teachers pay rises of up to nine per cent in an attempt to see off strike action , The Telegraph has learned.
Mr Zahawi, the Education Secretary, wants to give the 130,000 teachers in England in the first five years of their careers a rise of up to nine per cent from September as part of moves to take starting salaries to £30,000.
He is also proposing a pay increase of five per cent for the remaining 380,000 teachers across the country instead of the three per cent originally planned by the Government.
Mr Zahawi made the request in a formal letter to Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor. It comes after a pay review board suggested the Government increase its offer to teachers amid record inflation .
The Education Secretary is not bound to follow the body’s recommendation but has decided to do so in the hope it will avert strike action in schools.
Teaching unions have vowed to strike if they deem any pay offer too low. Officials hope a near-inflation rise for some new teachers would convince their more senior colleagues to stand down.
Mr Zahawi is the first Cabinet minister known to have challenged Mr Sunak over his calls for restraint in pay deals, amid fears of stoking inflation .
A source said: “Nadhim Zahawi has made it clear that the quality of teaching is the single most important factor within a school for outcomes for children and we need to make teaching an even more attractive profession. Teachers deserve a pay rise, and the Government wants to prevent any strikes.”
The pay settlement is expected to be announced in the coming weeks.
It is understood Mr Zahawi wrote to the Chancellor after the School Teachers’ Review Body, an independent panel appointed by the Government to advise on salary increases, told him that a three per cent rise would not be sufficient and recommended five per cent.
The bodies that make recommendations on pay for other areas of the public sector are expected to submit their findings to ministers shortly.
Teachers’ pay in England was frozen last year and has fallen in real terms over the last decade. The sector faces a retention crisis, with almost a fifth of newly-qualified teachers leaving the profession within their first two years of teaching.
The Government previously said that a three per cent pay rise for most teachers would be the highest pay award for them since 2006.
However, teachers’ unions threatened to strike over the “alarmingly low” proposal. They are calling for inflation-busting pay increases, which would require the Government to offer total pay rises above 9.1 per cent, based on the latest inflation figures.
The National Association of Schoolmasters/Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) said it would ballot members for national industrial action in November if the pay increase for teachers this year was less than 12 per cent.
An increase of nine per cent this year for new teachers would increase starting salaries from £25,714 to £28,000. Mr Zahawi has also asked Mr Sunak to sign off on a further seven per cent increase for new teachers next year in order to meet the Conservatives’ 2019 election manifesto commitment to raise teachers’ starting salaries to £30,000 by 2024.
The Education Secretary’s intervention comes after he wrote for The Telegraph that a teachers’ strike would be “unforgivable and unfair” in the wake of Covid.
The Treasury has previously said any public sector pay rises “need to be proportionate and balanced with the need to manage inflationary pressures and public sector finances”.
Every one per cent increase to the total teacher pay bill of around £25 billion costs taxpayers about £250 million, according to research by the Institute of Fiscal Studies.
Increasing the proposed offer for established teachers from three per cent to five per cent would add around £300 million to the annual pay bill. Larger pay rises for new and less experienced teachers – ranging from four per cent to nine per cent, or about £2,000 each – would cost around £300 million.
Only about 40,000 teachers are in line to receive this largest award of nine per cent.
Luke Sibieta, a research fellow at the Institute for Fiscal Studies, said the majority of the increases demanded by Mr Zahawi would be “affordable” within existing budgets for school funding, which were increased by £4 billion for 2022-23.
Mr Sibieta estimated that a pay rise of more than 4.5 per cent for more experienced teachers would require additional funding of around £150 million from the Government to cover the costs.
“However, given the worrying signs in the teacher labour market, a higher award than that proposed by the Government may carry fewer risks than a lower one,” he said.
During the pandemic, teacher recruitment briefly improved as people considered career changes, but the sector has warned that recruitment to teacher training has started to fall below pre-pandemic levels.
The National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) hosted an online professional development conference in partnership with Gender Spectrum, a leftwing organization that encourages child transgenderism and even partners with surgeons who perform sex change operations on children.
The NAIS, which is responsible for the accreditation of over 1,800 private schools across America, hosted a five-day conference titled the Inclusive Schools Network Institute in conjunction with Gender Spectrum, an organization that pushes transgenderism on children and advances leftwing beliefs on gender in K-12 classrooms.
The conference, archived here , seeks to offer “effective ways to address the increasing gender diversity across the K-12 experience,” also explaining that the conference is intended for heads of schools, teachers, “diversity and equity professionals,” curriculum specialists, and other administrative staff at K-12 schools. “The institute also recognizes the nature of gender and its intersections with power, identity, and other dynamics,” according to the conference description.
The conference, which costs as much as $2,025 to attend, will cover “dimensions of gender, key terminology, and the spectrum framework for gender” as well as a “half-day workshop on gender at the intersection of race, power, and identity.”
Gender Spectrum, which the NAIS calls “a national leader in creating gender-sensitive and positively responsive environments” and is facilitating the conference, promotes books like “The Transgender Child: A Handbook for Families and Professionals” under their Educator Resources . Among the other books are “The Transgender Teen” and “The Gender Creative Child.”
Gender Spectrum hosts discussion groups specifically intended for minors, such as their “Pre-Teen Discussion Group” which is “open to trans, nonbinary and gender expansive youth ages 11-12.” Another group is called the the “Black Trans and Non-Binary Teen Online Discussion Group.” The group mixes minors and adults and is open to those between the ages of 13 and 19.
In conjunction with their work aimed at young children, Gender Spectrum also provides information about surgeries such as mastectomies, vaginoplasties, and even operations that alter individuals’ facial structure in order to make them appear more or less feminine and masculine. These events are all part of a series on what the organization refers to as “gender affirming surgeries.”
The leftwing organization even directly partners with Align Surgical Associates, a group of surgeons that offers what they refer to as “gender confirmation surgery.” Align Surgery Associates mentions “young trans patients” and “guardians” on their website, indicating that they operate on minors. Additionally, Gender Spectrum partners with the Gender Confirmation Center, which also operates on minors .
The conference will be facilitated by Joel Baum and Carla Pena of Gender Spectrum, as well as Caroline Blackwell, the NAIS vice president of equity and justice and Tony Hernandez, the NAIS project and training manager of equity and justice.
Breitbart News previously revealed that the NAIS had adopted “queer inclusive” curriculum, with transgender ideology being taught to students in pre-kindergarten. Footage from a teacher training lecturer telling her audience that she discussed female anatomy, in detail, with children in pre-K.
The purpose of the training was to instruct teachers on how to discuss “gender, and sexuality, and identity” with students from pre-K to grade 8. One presentation featured the “gender unicorn” graphic, which is used to assert that sex and gender are distinct. A lecturer at the conference also derided parents who engage in “Puritan speak,” citing examples such as “what if my child isn’t ready,” “that’s my job,” and even “they’re too young to know that.”
The NAIS did not respond to a request for comment.
Boris Johnson has risked enflaming a fresh row with unions as Downing Street backed a minister’s claim that teachers going on strike post-pandemic would be “unforgivable”.
Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi lashed out at the National Education Union (NEU) as part of an article in the Telegraph, saying strikes by the UK’s largest teaching union would be “irresponsible”.
The NEU has said it will consult its members and “strongly encouraging them” to back industrial action over pay and workload in the autumn if the government failed to respond to its concerns.
The union said pay cuts and high workload were hitting teacher recruitment and retention, causing “real damage” to education.
It criticised the Government’s evidence to the School Teachers’ Review Body proposing a 3% pay increase for most teachers in England, which it said would mean a “huge” pay cut on the basis of Wednesday’s inflation figures of 9.1% on the CPI measure and 11.7% for RPI.
But Mr Zahawi pushed back on the union’s call for action, saying: “Young people have suffered more disruption than any generation that’s gone before them and to compound that now, as recovery is in full swing and families are thinking about their next big step following school or college, would be unforgivable and unfair.”
And the Prime Minister has backed the Education Secretary.
His spokesman said today: “The Prime Minister agrees with what Nadhim Zahawi has said as I’ve stated that we don’t want to see children’s education being impacted any more than it has been, given the amount of disruption that was caused by the pandemic.”
NEU deputy general secretary Niamh Sweeney told Sky News’ The Take with Sophy Ridge that a teachers’ strike was “more likely than it’s been in my 20 years of working in the profession”.
“Teachers are saying to us that they are finding it difficult to get to the end of the month, their heating bills and their fuel bills means that they are struggling to survive”.
In a letter to Mr Zahawi, the union called for a fully funded inflation-plus pay increase for all teachers, as well as action on pay for other staff such as support workers, and measures to reduce workloads.
The minister was told that teacher pay has fallen by a fifth in real terms since 2010, even before this year’s increases in inflation, while their workload remains at “unsustainable” levels.
The letter says: “Alongside the decline in teacher pay in real terms against inflation, it has also declined in relative terms against earnings.
“Average teacher salaries are at their lowest level compared to average earnings across the economy in over 40 years.
“Teachers and school leaders often tell us that workload is their predominant concern.
“But right now, our members are telling us pay is a big issue too.
“The combination of unsustainable hours, the work intensity during those hours and ever-falling pay levels are damaging our schools and the young people we are educating.
“Teachers are looking at their working hours and their pay and calculating hourly rates, which are alarmingly low.
“The latest teacher training figures are very worrying; applications have fallen by 24% compared with last year.
“One in eight newly qualified teachers left the job in their first year of teaching.
“These young people have often finished a degree, then completed a postgraduate qualification.
“They are a great loss to the profession, but more importantly to the nation’s pupils who rely on their teachers to educate and care for them.
“You must respond to the new economic reality of double-digit inflation and the threat this poses to teacher living standards.
“We call on you to commit to an inflation-plus increase for all teachers.
“It is not good enough to only propose higher increases for beginner teachers (which are themselves likely to be lower than inflation).
“The current inaction from the Government on these questions is causing real damage to education and to our members’ livelihoods.
“We have to tell you that failing sufficient action by you, in the autumn term, we will consult our members on their willingness to take industrial action.
“And we will be strongly encouraging them to vote yes.
“We can no longer stand by while you run both education and educators into the ground.”
Texas public schools will be required to secure exterior doors, train staff on safety procedures and review threat response plans before the next school year begins under new school safety requirements issued by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) following the deadliest school shooting in state history.
The TEA released the new safety guidance Thursday, which requires school districts to conduct weekly exterior door sweeps, complete a summer safety audit and review emergency operations and active threat plans by Sept. 1. All campus staff, including substitutes, must also be trained on campus safety procedures.
Earlier this month, Gov. Greg Abbott directed the agency to require weekly campus door inspections in response to the Robb Elementary School shooting. Nineteen children and two teachers were killed after a gunman entered the school through an unlocked exterior door . Last week, the TEA also announced plans to check whether hundreds of thousands of external school building doors lock properly before the the start of the next school year.
Among considerations included in the TEA’s latest audit are how schools could provide first responders with quick access to keys as well as observing opportunities to “foster positive relationships” between school community members and campus law enforcement. Law enforcement in Uvalde has faced ongoing criticism for its response to the shooting, including allegedly waiting to breach the classroom where the massacre occurred for keys that may not have even been needed .
The TEA, Texas School Safety Center, and other state agencies are also working to expand “technical assistance for emergency operations plan development, conducting threat assessment protocols, expanding availability of school-based law enforcement, improving the efficacy of drills and incident preparedness exercises, and supporting [local educational agency] efforts in implementing multi-tiered system of supports,” according to Thursday’s announcement.
“We understand that the safety of students and staff is always the top priority of Texas public school systems,” TEA Commissioner Mike Morath and Texas School Safety Center Director Kathy Martinez-Prather wrote in a joint letter Thursday. “While the requirements described herein may be new to a few, we know that most schools in Texas are already implementing these actions and more to keep our students and staff safe.”
The TEA will be collecting data from the audit to evaluate changes that need to be made to facilities, which will be sent to state lawmakers in order to construct funding requests. There are more than 1,200 school districts in Texas and more than 3,000 campuses.
This week, Abbott and other state leaders announced the transfer of $105.5 million to support statewide school safety and mental health initiatives, which will help fund items like bulletproof shields, silent panic alert technology, safety audits and mental health services.