‘We are in deficit on the starting line…I am so angry!’ Letter to the editor from a head teacher

Taken from Twitter, source unknown.

Dear Editor,

I got an email from the Secretary of State for Education today (Gillian Keegan) basically saying that if we don’t agree what they’ve proposed, the offer is withdrawn and the £1000 one-off payment (which is in lieu of an award for this year) won’t be on the table. (Incidentally, that one-off payment is not linked to our pensions.)

The pay increase will need to be funded from existing school budgets. She says she’s looked at school budgets and they can afford it. What a f*cking joke! My budget won’t balance next year without changing staffing structure! Fewer staff, larger classes, poorer outcomes for children who’ve suffered over the last few years. My staff don’t want more money, they want enough money to be able to do a good job.

I am so angry.

My pay has been frozen since 2012. I’ve gone up the scale, but the £ hasn’t changed since then. I reached top of my scale in 2015, so essentially I’ve had pay cuts every year. I’m not bleating about my pay, it’s just the school budget cuts! Keegan says even with the extra expenses with energy bills, she’s looked and schools can afford it. She will have seen the national picture. Devon is the third lowest- funded authority. We are in deficit on the starting line.

We used to be able to meet the needs of individuals and have quite a few other teaching assistants for general support (maybe one per year group). We have been able to be creative with the budget and maintain that until now. We have also maintained two form entry [two classes per year group, each with their own class teacher. Ed] up till now. No more. There’s just no wriggle room at all. We’ve squeezed absolutely everything we can. Next step is losing people and that really breaks my heart, because it’s real people, with lives and increased cost of living for them, and that’s without considering the impact on the children.

All of this will make it harder for teachers to do their jobs. I’m having to plan for two year groups in one class. Everyone is on a lose, lose trajectory. Yet we are still judged on the same outcomes! No let-up, despite the current year six missing the best part of two years.

I’d like to point out to Ms Keegan that she and her colleagues enjoy pay rises every year and they can also claim expenses. Is she not bothered that our teaching assistants could earn more working for Macdonald’s? It’s all shite.

They are trying to do a gaslighting thing about recruitment as well. Bastards.

My staff won’t be taking action just because they’ve effectively had pay cuts for the last twelve years under the Conservatives. They’re even more angry about the fact that budgets no longer support high-quality provision, even with high-quality staff.


Head teacher, Devon.

Almost three out of four local education authorities in England is experiencing a teacher shortage, a survey showed today, and 18 per cent of those polled said the problem had reached crisis levels.

A spokesman for the Department for Education and Employment said the Government had taken ‘decisive steps’ to make teaching more attractive.

“There is more to do but at a time of a strong economy and a buoyant graduate recruitment market, the incentives we have introduced are bucking an eight year long decline in teacher recruitment,’ said the spokesman.

It is estimated that teachers’ salaries have fallen by 13 per cent in real terms on average since 2010.

HM Treasury