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Teacher numbers at crisis point – pay gap hits record level

RECRUITMENT and retention in the teaching profession is at crisis point and could get even worse due to the widening pay gap with other professions, teaching union Nasuwt claimed yesterday.

A shortage of teachers is impacting on “the entitlement of children to a high-quality education,” the union warned.

A report commissioned by the union, carried out by Incomes Data Research (IDR) on teacher salaries at different career points concludes that members of the profession have not had significant real-terms pay increases since before the recession.

It also shows that pay increases for teachers across England have in the main lagged behind those received by other occupational groups since 2011.

The analysis by IDR shows that the average starting salary for comparable graduate professions is at least 15 per cent higher than those for a qualified teacher.

Across the whole of the teaching profession, the report concludes that in 2015 average gross earnings for all “comparable professions” were 20.2 per cent above those of secondary school teachers, and 32.4 per cent ahead of average earnings for primary school teachers.

Nasuwt argued that in 2010, before the Tory-led government came in, teaching was a “top choice” of career for graduates.

Annual job satisfaction surveys conducted by the government since 2003 had shown year-on-year improvement and great strides forward had been made in recognising and rewarding teachers as highly skilled professionals, the union said.

However since 2010 there have been “relentless attacks” on teachers according to Nasuwt general secretary Chris Keates.

She warned there have been “year-on-year cuts to teachers’ pay, workload spiralling out of control, de-professionalisation, demoralisation and denigration.

“There is already a recruitment and retention crisis in the education service. The stark differences in graduate pay highlighted in our research will unfortunately mean this crisis will worsen.

“Children and young people are being short changed by this government as they cannot receive their entitlement to high-quality education when talented teachers are leaving and potential recruits can find jobs in other graduate occupations which recognise and better reward their talents.”

The Department for Education said it has “given headteachers the freedom over teacher pay, including the ability to pay good teachers more.”

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