The devolution of teachers’ pay and conditions is an opportunity to elevate the status of the teaching profession in Wales, says Education Secretary Kirsty Williams.
Powers over teachers’ pay and conditions are in the process of being devolved to the Welsh Government from Westminster under the Wales Act.
The Welsh Government will take responsibility for this area at the end of this September, with teachers’ pay and conditions being set by the Welsh Government from September 2019.
A consultation opens today on the mechanism for deciding teachers’ pay and conditions in Wales, with a model that would see unions, employers and the Welsh Government working together as part of a partnership forum.
This new Partnership Forum would be able to propose changes to a draft remit for pay and conditions and set the agenda for any other issues that needed to be considered.
Following consideration of the Forum’s views, Welsh Ministers would submit a ‘final’ remit for scrutiny and analysis by an independent expert body prior to taking any final decisions.
Running parallel to the consultation is a group set up to review teachers’ pay and conditions, chaired by Professor Mick Waters. The group will consider where and how the current system could be improved and will report to the Cabinet Secretary later this year.
Responsibility for teachers’ pay and conditions forms part of a broader set of measures to strengthen the profession in Wales. These include investment in business managers to reduce the administrative burden on headteachers, addressing classroom bureaucracy, reducing infant class sizes and the introduction of new professional standards.
Kirsty Williams said:
“I want to work closely with the profession to help teachers be the best they can be and that means looking at everything we can do to support them - whether it be a fair and sensible structure for deciding pay and conditions, new ways to cut classroom bureaucracy or better professional development.
“As a government, we have been absolutely clear that there’s no question of teachers being paid less than teachers in England. The model we’re consulting on will ensure that unions, employers and Welsh Government can come together and agree a fair, sensible and sustainable way forward.
“We also have to look at this in the round; there has never been a better opportunity to develop a truly national model that enshrines a national approach to supporting and elevating the profession.
“I would urge everyone who shares our ambitions to take part in this consultation.”