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Teachers starting their career in subject shortages should receive a salary supplement

The Education Policy Institute (EPI) have published a report which suggests new teachers entering the Education system in subjects (i.e. physics) where there is a high shortage of teachers should be given a salary supplement in order to tackle the retention crisis and encourage them to remain in the profession.

 

The report argues that not enough is being done to make the teachers already in the profession stay, instead, the focus is on recruiting on new teachers.

 

 

 

 

Unions have criticised the idea and suggest it would damage morale. Paul Whiteman, the general secretary of NAHT, warned that giving extra money to some teachers but not others would be “viewed as a kick in the teeth by many existing teachers.”

“A differential approach to pay will do nothing to improve retention and will sap the morale of existing teachers who have endured seven years of cuts to real pay,” he said.

“Lifting the pay cap for all roles in schools would be a start but it absolutely must be fully funded by the government because school budgets are already at breaking point.”

Paul Whiteman, General Secretary of NAHT

 

Mary Bousted, the joint general secretary of the NEU, said the report was “yet more evidence of the government’s failure to ensure there are enough teachers in our schools.”

“The NEU does not, however, agree with the EPI that the government should prioritise retention ahead of recruitment,” she went on. “It needs to stop tinkering around the edges and address both problems by cutting workload and offering better pay.”

Natalie Perera, executive director and head of research at the EPI, said the research shows that “growing shortages are likely to be tackled most effectively by focusing on retaining the existing workforce.”

“Some subjects in particular are seeing acute shortages in the number of quality teachers,” she said. “If the government wishes to ease these growing pressures and safeguard educational standards, it should consider policies which offer financial and other incentives to teachers in these subjects early on in their career.”

 

Teachers leaving the profession has been at the highest rate in the last decade and the Department of Education (DfE) have failed to hit teaching recruitment levels for the past five years. Teacher training applicants have also dropped by a third adding more concern and fuelling the recruitment crisis.

Such shortages means teachers spending longer days in the classroom or bringing in staff with lower qualifications.

“Some subjects in particular are seeing acute shortages in the number of quality teachers,” she said. “If the government wishes to ease these growing pressures and safeguard educational standards, it should consider policies which offer financial and other incentives to teachers in these subjects early on in their career.”

By 2026 the government expects pupil numbers to grow by four per cent at primary level and 20 per cent at secondary, meaning a surge in teachers is required to cope and prevent class sizes from rises. Ninety per cent of pupils are expected to study EBacc subjects by 2025 and more teachers will be required to deliver this.

 

The EPI report suggests there is “strong empirical evidence” that targeting financial incentives in subjects where there is a shortage of teachers can help improve retention rates, but acknowledges that although schools can currently make these payments they are unable to do so due to budget pressures.

After the one per cent pay cap was lifted on public sector pay, the government is under pressure to announce additional funding for schools. Unions say the pay rise teachers need must be fully funded to schools so they can afford to award it.

 

A spokesperson for the DfE Education said: “The education secretary has been clear that there are no great schools without great teachers and that his top priority is to make sure teaching remains an attractive and fulfilling profession. There are a record number of teachers in our classrooms – 15,500 more than in 2010 – and increasing numbers are returning to the profession.

“We want to build on this, which is why we recently announced a strategy to drive recruitment and boost retention of teachers and are working with school leaders and unions to strip away unnecessary workload, on top of the range of financial incentives we already offer to help attract the brightest and best into our classrooms.”

 

April 26, 2018