28 June 2016
The School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB), which advises the Secretary of State on matters of teachers’ pay, was due to publish its 26th Report at the end of April. This report, which is to recommend on pay uplift for teachers for the academic year 2016 – 2017, has, however, been delayed by the Government’s self-imposed ‘purdah’ (a period in the run up to elections which prevents information being released by the government that could have a bearing on the results) ahead of the EU Referendum.
However, now that purdah is over, the machinery of government and opposition seem to be in a state of paralysis, as both Conservatives and Labour turn from campaigning to fighting themselves.
Voice understands that the STRB’s report, which is currently with ministers, will be released for consultation simultaneously with the consultation on the draft 2016 School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document (STPCD) but the longer publication of the report is delayed, the greater the speculation about the content of the report – and the reason for its delay – will become, which is unhelpful, and potentially damaging, for the Government’s relationship with the teaching profession.
Voice did not take sides in the Referendum, but we are concerned that, although it is over, school, college and nursery professionals are still going to be kept waiting – not only for the STRB report, but also for:
- the Schools National Funding Formula;
- the early years workforce strategy and delivery of the 30 hours of free childcare funding;
- reports from expert working groups on teachers’ professional standards and teacher training – which were submitted to the DfE at Easter, but have also not been released; and
- announcements on apprenticeships.
As Schools Week Editor Laura McInerney points out: “We have created a system in which the education secretary holds an incredible amount of power” – from which the holder of that office is now distracted.
It is time for both the Government and Opposition to get a grip and get back to business, instead of concentrating solely, it seems, on their own internal politics.
Not that long ago, the Prime Minister’s frequent theme was “Broken Britain” but, while the current state of affairs was not the topic of his speeches, that phrase now seems prophetic – although not for the reasons he envisaged.