Systemic problems will not be solved by hike in starting salaries

The Government has announced plans to increase teachers’ starting salaries to £30,000 by 2022-23.

Whilst welcoming the recognition that starting salaries need a boost to aid recruitment, equal attention must be paid to retention of experienced teachers, and therefore the Government must also ensure that investment in teachers’ salaries is across the board, including for experienced teachers.

Almost a decade of pay erosion has left a teachers’ pay gap of 20% when compared with other graduate professions. This is a major contributor to the national crisis in teacher supply.

The Government has also announced an expansion of its programme of bursaries for new teachers, with trainees in maths, chemistry, physics and modern foreign languages to receive up to £35,000 during training and their early careers, on top of their salaries. Trainee teachers in art and design and business studies are also set to receive new bursaries of £9,000.

There is no evidence that these incentives are an aid to long-term recruitment and retention, as they fail to address the structural problems with the teachers’ pay system, the excessive workload and the growing concerns with pupil indiscipline, which are all driving teachers out of the profession and deterring new recruits.

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