Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland teachers group calling for 5% pay rise

Empty classroom
Image caption The Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) represents about 200 heads and senior staff members.

The body that represents principals in more than half of Northern Ireland's post-primary schools is calling for a 5% pay rise for teachers.

The Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) represents about 200 heads and senior staff members.

It said morale among teachers and school leaders was "at an all time low".

However, ASCL also said any pay rise should be funded by the UK government to ease pressure on school budgets.

Pay negotiations between teaching unions and the teaching employers have been stalled and this has led to ongoing industrial action.

That was prompted by a 0% cost-of-living pay award in 2015-16 and a 1% rise in 2016-17.

There has also been no agreed pay increase for teachers in 2017-18.

'Struggling to make ends meet'

Unions have been engaged in action short of strike in schools as a result.

Many teachers have refused to co-operate with inspections or go to meetings out of school hours, for instance.

The ASCL said that all teachers and school leaders deserved an annual cost of living pay increase, so that they were not worse off in real terms from year to year.

The ASCL representative in Northern Ireland, and former principal of Limavady Grammar School, Robert Wilson, said that many schools were struggling to make ends meet.

"With budgets likely to be further reduced, it is vital that not only are teachers and leaders given a decent pay rise after years of pay caps and freezes imposed by the government, but also that any pay award is fully funded by the government in Westminster through the Barnett formula," he said.

"We should not be in a position where a school's financial viability is compromised further because a much needed realignment of pay is not funded centrally."

The school leaders pay demand echoes the pay claim submitted by the teaching unions in November 2017.

However, the Department of Education said then that it was unable to award any cost-of-living pay rise at that time.

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