Teaching unions have entered into “intensive talks” with Education Secretary Gillian Keegan over their demands to be paid more for less work.
The National Education Union (NEU) has agreed to talks on pay, conditions and workload reduction after shutting more than half of schools in England to some or all pupils during two days of strike action this week.
The union has demanded inflation-matching backdated pay for the present academic year, as well as an inflation-matching pay rise for next year.
The talks come after health unions recommended an average 5 per cent pay rise offer to nurses, midwives and ambulance workers in 2023-24. The offer also included a one-off bonus worth two per cent of salary for 2022-23, as well as an “NHS backlog bonus” worth at least £1,250 per person.
The Treasury has not confirmed any additional funds to cover the bonuses, which means it could come from efficiency savings.
Luke Sibieta, an economist at the Institute for Fiscal Studies, warned that taxpayers will have to foot the bill if teachers are offered a similar one-off payment.
He told The Telegraph that schools would have “little to no wriggle room for backpay for this year”.
He added: “They will already have spent most of their budgets for this year. I can’t see how the Government does this without providing additional funding.”