ASCL comment on IFS report on teacher pay

Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, responds to the Institute for Fiscal Studies’ report on the real-terms cut to teacher pay since 2010. 
The IFS is a highly respected, independent body and its findings are clear: teachers have suffered a significant real-terms fall in their pay over the past 12 years while average earnings have risen across the rest of the economy. This is one of the main reasons why schools and colleges are dealing with a recruitment and retention crisis which is making it increasingly difficult to put teachers in front of classes, and which is putting educational standards at risk.

“The government has missed targets for recruiting trainee teachers for many years and only 59% of the target number of secondary teachers were recruited during the last academic year. The latest figures, which include the startling statistic that only 17% of the target number of trainee physics teachers were recruited, are nothing short of catastrophic. Furthermore, nearly a third of teachers then leave the profession within five years of qualifying. This desperate situation is a direct result of the way in which the government has eroded the pay and conditions of teachers and devalued the profession. 

“Teacher shortages mean schools and colleges have to rely on non-specialist teachers and supply staff to plug gaps. While these staff work hard and do their best, this situation is obviously not the best thing for children. This report should serve as a much-needed wake-up call for the government to provide teachers with the meaningful and fully-funded pay award they deserve and which will help to address this ongoing crisis.”