Labor will unveil its education bid this week with a promise to pay new teachers a £2,400 retention bonus and pledge to cut billions spent on agency workers, but has repeatedly refused to back down. commit to giving teachers a 6.5% salary increase.
Keir Starmer, the Labor leader, will set out his schools ‘mission’ to improve school standards and extend childcare to preschoolers later in the week.
Ahead of the announcement Bridget Phillipson, the shadow education secretary, unveiled the promise of a £2,400 bonus for newly qualified teachers who stay on for two years in a bid to end the retention crisis.
She also pledged to cut payments to education agencies to fill growing vacancies, in response to new party analysis which found state schools in England had paid recruitment agencies more than £8billion sterling since 2010.
According to the latest data, there were 43,997 leavers in the teaching profession in 2021-22, compared to 36,159 new entrants.
Phillipson said: “We will only … raise standards in our classrooms if we weather the perfect storm in our teaching profession, which is seeing an exodus of experienced teachers and costing taxpayers more than likely to fill vacancies. .”
However, she would not be asked whether Labor would give teachers a pay rise in line with a recommendation from the pay review body – estimated at 6.5%.
“I would see this as the starting point of the negotiation; we can’t go anywhere unless we’re willing to negotiate,” she told the BBC on Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg, adding: “I’m not going to go on this program and commit to a figure, I wouldn’t expect the Secretary of State to do it either; this is what will happen during a negotiation.
She added: “Labour governments always want to put education first and make sure that we properly support people working in education with fair and affordable pay deals.
“But who knows what the situation will be if we win this election, because the Conservatives have destroyed the economy, behaved in a totally reckless way, and that will present some tough choices.”
Teachers are set to strike again this week on Wednesday and Friday after rejecting a government-proposed 4.5% raise. The government refuses to publish the recommendation of the teacher compensation body.
Dr Mary Bousted, co-general secretary of the National Education Union, welcomed the Labor plan, warning of a “crisis point” in schools.