Wales politics

Teachers' morale low in Wales over pay issues, union warns

A teacher taking a class Image copyright Getty Images

Teachers' morale in Wales has hit "an all time low" due to issues over pay, a teaching union has warned.

UCAC, representing teachers in Wales, has issued a joint statement with five other unions to the School Teachers' Review Body (STRB), which sets pay.

Elaine Edwards, UCAC's general secretary, said it was concerned teachers "at all stages of their career" were leaving the profession.

The UK government said it was working to "raise the status of teaching".

Teachers' pay increases have been limited to 1% or less for the past five years, and the UK government aims to keep to this limit for the next four years.

Ms Edwards warned teachers are facing "extreme" challenges, which included pay freezes and "overwhelming" workloads.

There are concerns teachers' pay was not going to "keep in pace" with the private sector, making it "impossible to raise teaching standards", she said.

"We believe devolving responsibility to Wales would actually sit better with us having our own vision for education," she added.

Meanwhile, an independent review of the National Literacy and Numeracy Programmes, commissioned by the Welsh government, has found "no robust evidence" for improvement.

However, the report noted it was too early to assess the impact and that practitioners felt it would lead to improvement "over time".

Improvements

The STRB is expected to make its recommendations on teachers' pay in April.

A Department for Education spokeswoman said it had worked with the profession to "raise the status of teaching", adding that that a record number of highly-qualified graduates and "experienced career changers" were now teaching.

She added: "But we are determined to go further, and recognise that some schools find it harder to recruit the teachers they need, which is why we are expanding the great Teach First and Schools Direct programmes and we are launching the National Teaching Service, which will mean more great teachers in schools in every corner of the country."

A Welsh government spokesman said: "The devolution of teachers' pay and conditions could... provide opportunities for Wales to shape the teachers' pay and conditions system to underpin our aspirations for the education system, raise standards and support and develop the teaching profession.

"We were therefore disappointed to see teachers' pay and conditions included as a reservation in the Wales Bill."

The Welsh government was "determined to support teachers throughout their career" as evidenced by policies such as its "new deal", the spokesman added.

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