ASCL response to NFER report on teacher pay proposals

Louise Hatswell, pay specialist at the Association of School and College Leaders, comments on research by the National Foundation for Educational Research showing that the Department for Education’s teacher pay proposals are unlikely to solve teacher supply problems in STEM subjects.
This report provides yet more evidence of the total inadequacy of the government’s pay proposals for teachers. The government’s plan to raise starting salaries to £30,000 over the next two years is undermined by its proposals for a significant real-terms pay cut for more experienced teachers and leaders which is likely to make retention worse and exacerbate teacher shortages. The government’s own figures show that 40% of the workforce currently quits teaching within 10 years. 

“We are not convinced that ‘levelling up’ premiums for some STEM subjects are the answer either. Teacher trainee numbers are down in a number of subjects including modern foreign languages, geography, and design and technology where only 23% of the target was achieved this year. 

“The underlying problem is years of government-imposed real-terms pay erosion which has devalued the profession. This must be addressed by a significant improvement to pay in general which reverses this downward trend, makes teaching a more attractive career choice, and improves teacher retention.

“It is pretty obvious that it is impossible to raise educational standards if schools cannot recruit the teachers they need.