Posted: Sat 25th Mar 2023

Headteachers in Wales reject government offer amid pay, workload, and funding dispute

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Saturday, Mar 25th, 2023

Headteachers and school leaders in Wales have voted to reject an offer from the Welsh government in an ongoing dispute over pay, workload, and funding.

After a 10-day online ballot, 54.5% of National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) Cymru members participating in the vote chose to reject the offer.

Throughout discussions with members across Wales, funding arrangements emerged as a significant concern for school leaders.

NAHT Cymru director Laura Doel attributed the rejection to a lack of transparency from employers, she said:

“Despite assurances from the Welsh government and the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) that pay awards for the current academic year would be fully-funded, that has clearly not been the case according to our members.

“The WLGA has refused to provide us with the evidence to substantiate their claim that all 22 local authorities and the Welsh government are fully-funding the pay uplifts for 2022/23, and our members simply will not sit back and allow their school budgets to be decimated to fund this award.

“They have understandably lost all trust and confidence in the employers and hold out little hope that the award for the next academic year will bring with it any further money.

“At the heart of our dispute has been a desire to protect the delivery of education for children in Wales.  This ballot result sends a clear message that our members do not believe they can maintain the level of support pupils deserve when they are being short-changed by some local authorities on the promise of funding.

“The only way our members can afford to meet the costs without the money they need will be to make redundancies.  This will have a detrimental impact on education for this and future generations and therefore we are urging the Welsh government to intervene and help save our schools from ruin.”

NAHT Cymru has informed the Welsh government and employers of the outcome and called for talks to resume in order to resolve the dispute as soon as possible.

In the meantime, members will continue to take indefinite action short of a strike, including restricting their availability outside school hours, abstaining from certain meetings, and refusing to engage with Estyn beyond statutory requirements.

The government’s offer included a 3% additional payment for the 2022/23 academic year, composed of a 1.5% consolidated award and a further 1.5% unconsolidated lump sum.

The offer also proposed a 5% pay rise from September 2023 and an agreement on workload. The ballot results showed that 45.5% of participating NAHT members voted to accept the offer, while 54.5% rejected it.

On Thursday members of the National Education Union (NEU) have voted to accept a pay deal from the the Welsh Government. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​ ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

The offer put forward by Minister for Education and Welsh Language Jeremy Miles will see an additional payment to teachers of 3 per cent for this academic year (2022/23), made up of 1.5 per cent consolidated award and a further 1.5 per cent unconsolidated lump-sum. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​ ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

The offer also included an increased pay rise of five per cent paid from September 2023. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​ ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Jeremy Miles has also confirmed that it will all be fully funded by the Welsh Government. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​ ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

73 per cent of NEU teacher members in Wales who responded to the union’s consultation have voted to accept the pay offer put forward by the Welsh Government, and end the dispute. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​ ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

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