MONMOUTHSHIRE councillors narrowly rejected a motion to pay the one per cent increase in teachers’ salaries.
Figures show Monmouthshire schools will have to find £166,214 to fund the one per cent increase in teachers’ salaries agreed by the Government. The highest include Monmouth Comprehensive, who will need to find £26,068, Caldicot Comprehensive £21,476 and Chepstow Comprehensive £16,740 and King Henry VIII Comprehensive £19,377.
Councillor Debby Blakebrough, member for Trellech United, put forward the motion for the council to fund the pay award for the seven month period from September 1, 2013 until March 31, 2014 due to the lack of time they gave schools to work this into their budget.
She said: “The pay award was fully funded in previous years. MCC knew in March it would effect the 2014/15 budget. This is halfway through their budget and they are having to find the money from other projects. This decision will effect the August results. It would mean the difference between a C and a D.”
Schools were told in September of the changes in the pay award. The motion was rejected at a full council meeting on January 16 with 22 votes to 19.
Cllr Blakebrough said: “This will affect staff morale and the children’s education and experiences. It confirms the Estyn criticism of this local authority and will bring major damage to our reputation. The Chief Executive attended a school budget forum and acknowledged MCC had failed in not communicating earlier in the year. It was a hands up moment.”
Cllr Liz Hacket Pain, member for schools and learning, confirmed the council was told in September of the changes in teachers’ pay.
She said: “In 2010 the school budget increased almost by £2 million. MCC has always had education as one of our priorities.
It would cost £120,000 to fund the pay award where is the money going to come from?”
Cllr Armand Watts, member for Thornwell, said: “What we seem to be doing is putting pressure on our schools again. Estyn will have us up on this again.”
An Estyn report carried out In November 2012, Estyn found the quality of local education services in Monmouthshire unsatisfactory. with unsatisfactory prospects for improvement.