Morale warn­ing over pay at pri­vate schools


PAY IN pri­vate schools is fail­ing to keep pace with in­fla­tion, new re­search has found, prompt­ing warn­ings over morale as staff face ris­ing work­loads.

Just one per cent of teach­ers, tak­ing part in the Na­tional Ed­u­ca­tion Union’s (NEU) in­de­pen­dent sec­tor sur­vey, re­ported a rise that matched or bet­tered those sug­gested for state schools at 3.5 per cent.

And amid con­cerns over ris­ing work­loads in the pri­vate sec­tor, with al­most two-thirds of teach­ers work­ing three evenings a week through term time, union lead­ers have said more must be done to pro­tect ed­u­ca­tion’s great­est as­set.

“Staff morale is be­ing dam­aged by be­low in­fla­tion salary in­creases and bur­geon­ing work­loads,” said Dr Mary Bousted, joint gen­eral sec­re­tary of the NEU.

“With pay awards lag­ging be­hind the state sec­tor, this year could prove a wa­ter­shed for many in­de­pen­dent sec­tor staff.

“Frus­tra­tion over pay, com­bined with grow­ing con­fi­dence from our en­hanced mem­ber­ship of over 30,000 work­ing in the sec­tor, means that more and more NEU mem­bers are get­ting or­gan­ised at school level, and as­sert­ing their rights to col­lec­tively ne­go­ti­ate their pay and work­ing hours.”

An es­ti­mated six per cent of the coun­try’s school pop­u­la­tion at­tends an in­de­pen­dent school in Eng­land, with around 130 set­tings in York­shire. The in­de­pen­dent sec­tor sur­vey for 2018 fo­cuses on re­sponses from over 1,000 teach­ers and 174 sup­port staff.

One in five teach­ers re­ceived no cost-of-liv­ing raise at all, it found, with the ma­jor­ity fac­ing pay in­creases at be­tween one to two per cent. Work­load is on the rise, the re­sults found, with 40 per cent of teach­ers putting in hours ev­ery week­end to keep up and fewer than half tak­ing a lunch break of at least 20 min­utes.

Sup­port staff face a “dou­ble­whammy”, the union has warned, with a trend to­wards con­tracts which pay them for term-time only.

“Em­ploy­ers need to re­fo­cus on their big­gest as­set: their hard­work­ing staff,” said Ms Bousted. “They can do this in two ways. First, by car­ry­ing out a work­load au­dit of all staff to en­sure man­age­able work­loads, ad­e­quate rest pe­ri­ods and ap­pro­pri­ate rec­om­pense. Sec­ond, pay should be in­creased, as a bare min­i­mum, in line with RPI (Re­tail Price In­dex).”

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