Commenting on the Chancellor of the Exchequer's Pre-Budget Report, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, Europe's largest teaching union said;
"We welcome the fact that Government is putting their money where their mouth is in continuing to tackle the pressing issue of child poverty with practical measures. The extension of the free school meals programme recognises the problems facing low income families. Clearly, this measure alone is not enough to meet the Government's 2010 target to halve child poverty. The goal to end child poverty by 2020 hasn't disappeared and must be met.
"Teachers have borne the brunt of below inflation pay increases for the past five years. While we are pleased that Ed Balls has agreed to protect the 2.3% pay increase for September 2010 recommended by the School Teachers' Review Body, any erosion of teachers' pay after that may lead to lower recruitment which is at odds with the world class education system the Government always talks about. Furthermore, the Government should respect any recommendations made by the STRB for 2011 onwards and not simply set them aside when it suits. If the STRB recommends an increase in teachers' pay, it ought to be implemented in full.
"It is unclear whether or not the proposals affecting teachers' pensions in the Chancellor's speech are simple restatements of the cost-sharing agreement already reached or proposals for further changes. We would expect any additional proposals to be the subject of negotiation."
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