By Deborah Simpson, Director of Legal and Member Services, Voice
The Welsh Government has announced that responsibility for setting teachers’ pay and conditions in Wales is to be devolved.
A UK Government amendment was tabled to the Wales Bill at the committee stage in the House of Lords. Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns said that ‘devolving teachers’ pay is a key priority for the Welsh Government’.
Given that everything else connected with education is already devolved, this has not come as a surprise to Voice. We were consulted in the early stages and met with the team which was examining the issue.
However, the matter is not straightforward, and certain further commitments are needed from the Welsh Government, including details on funding, conditions of service, and an independent process for review. In other words, Voice needs assurance that members’ pay and conditions will not be compromised by this move.
Given the current teacher shortage in England, a further risk is that if teachers’ pay in Wales were to fall below levels in England, Wales might lose teachers in a cross border ‘brain drain’.
[Article written for January 2017 issue of the members’ magazine, Your Voice.]