Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: Talking Point
Front Page 
World 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
Forum 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 

Monday, 12 February, 2001, 13:20 GMT
Teachers' pay: Is it good enough?

Teachers in England and Wales are to get a general pay rise of at least 3.7% this year.

For schools that are experiencing problems in recruiting staff, there will be up to 6% for newly qualified teachers.

But one teaching union said the pay increase was "pathetic," and many believe it will not help to attract new people to the profession.

What do you think of the pay rises?Will it be enough to attract new recruits? What else can be done to tackle teaching shortages?

This Talking Point is now closed. A selection of your e-mails are posted below.



I certainly share the concerns of fellow teachers in the UK

Jayce, Asia
I certainly share the concerns of fellow teachers in the UK because this is exactly what teachers face here in our country. We too share the sentiments that teachers are underpaid as compared to other professions thus resulting in the high turnover rate. Furthermore, besides the marginal pay hikes, the authorities could maybe improve our working conditions.
Jayce, Asia

In my opinion teachers are merely overpaid babysitters.
Adam Goff, UK

I'm somewhat surprised to read quite a number of responses saying that pay isn't the main issue. It shows that the Government should adopt a much more imaginative approach to solve the problem rather than throwing money at it. Perhaps employing some auxiliary members of staff to handle non-teaching related work will help to ease the pressure on teachers?
Akin, UK


In an ideal world we'd all be paid the same amount as a stockbroker

Anna Hornsey, UK
Yes teachers work hard, and yes they do work during their holidays. But so do a lot of people in other jobs who are also graduates. Yes, people working in law, banking or IT can earn much more than a teacher, but these jobs aren't easy to walk into. Also, there are lots of intelligent graduates in other professions (such as nursing, charity work, social work, start-up businesses) who also work long hours for a lowish salary. In an ideal world we'd all be paid the same amount as a stockbroker, but this world isn't ideal. Bearing that in mind, I think the recent pay settlement for teachers was reasonable.
Anna Hornsey, UK

A good friend of mine is a teacher. Her job is more stressful than mine, she has no power to "kick back" at people who cause her grief, she is constantly prevented from actually teaching as she is expected to take part in the grand social engineering experiment. She works later than I do, takes work home and frequently works weekends. Her prescribed holidays are at times when air fares are at a premium so she has to pay more to actually take a holiday. Her salary is less than one third of mine. Why does she do it? I don't know.
John B, UK

Whilst I recognise that teachers do a difficult and important job, they must accept that they do NOT get a poor salary. True, it may not measure up to some other professionals, but it is more than a living wage, and is more than a lot of other "professionals" who also work long, hard hours get. So please, teachers, don't plead poverty - just admit that you want your salary to be comparable to those in the City!
Jon Buck, UK


It is little wonder that teachers take every opportunity to escape from the job that many thought would last a lifetime

Norman Bell, UK
Simon Canfer is quite right in that pay is not the real issue. My wife, a teacher, starts each day before 7.30 and regularly works until after 8.30 during both term time and those so called holidays. The additional bureaucracy of recent years has turned a vocation into a highly stressed occupation allowing little time for life. It is little wonder that teachers take every opportunity to escape from the job that many thought would last a lifetime. Might I suggest that more could be done by the LEA's and inspectors to lighten the load placed on classroom teachers.
Norman Bell, UK

I applied five times over a period of ten years for teacher training but was turned down each time. I am a science graduate (upper second). I have now given up any thought of this career because I think that they are not serious about teacher shortages, also successive governments have destroyed morale with increased red tape.
Ian, England

As a Primary teacher I averaged 55 hours a week. For the 40 weeks I worked (and did I work!) this makes 2200 hours. (work a basic salary of £17,000 out as an hourly rate and compare with others!). Had I been given a contract with specified hours e.g 37 hours a week and four weeks annual leave, I would only have worked 1776 hours a year (unless I did overtime for which I was paid or received time off in lieu - an unknown concept for teachers). The difference in hours means that I was actually working 424 hours per year more than my non-teaching friends, which equates to an extra 111/2 weeks' work. No wonder teachers are leaving the profession - I did and now enjoy a job with 37 hours a week, five weeks' paid holiday and if I have to work late, I get paid overtime and time off in lieu.
T, UK


Everyone is an expert in education because they all went to school,the fact that education has changed beyond all recognition seems to be irrelevant

Derek, UK
As can be seen from many of these comments, everyone is an expert in education because they all went to school.........the fact that education has changed beyond all recognition seems to be irrelevant. If we expect a first-class education for our children, we have to be prepared to pay for it. Let's stop all this carping about teachers' pay and decide that the education of our children is far more important than any political football
Derek, UK

Being more selective in the recruitment process would pay dividends. The emphasis on reducing class sizes would not be necessary if all teachers were able to interest and control their classes. I was taught very effectively in the state sector in classes of 35 and 40. With competent teachers class sizes can increase and the teacher shortage disappears.
Brian, U K

Pay is an issue for teachers, it is simply uncompetitive with other graduate professions - particularly when the top of the pay scale is reached. Personally, I feel the work conditions are also unacceptable. I regularly work 60 - 70 hour weeks not to keep ahead but merely to survive. This burden of paperwork and bureaucracy (which we were assured would be reduced, just ask anyone who filled in a threshold assessment form) is the real stumbling block. Teachers need a life outside of teaching to remain fresh and enthusiastic to a very demanding job. In short are we really surprised that there is a recruitment crisis, that standards of work are low and today pupils behaviour and discipline are out of control? A "sticking plaster" for the education crisis is no longer sufficient, a real overhaul is needed to return education to the status it deserves.
TM Davies, England


Why not try another country?

Simon Moore, UK
The salaries paid to teachers are low but they are no lower than the average salaries paid to people of equivalent age, qualifications and experience in industries such as engineering and chemicals. There is a problem in attracting people to those professions as well. In fact, with the exceptions of high level IT and finance jobs, all UK salaries are poor. But there's more to life than the UK. Look further afield - you don't have to be a maths teacher in England. Why not try another country?
Simon Moore, UK

There is one fact that no one has mentioned. Today's teacher shortages are a portent of disaster to come. Look at the high percentage of teachers in their fifties, who will be retiring over the next few years. What is that going to do to the teacher shortages in state schools? Young parents had better start saving for private education now, it's all that will be available in a few years.
Derek Thornton, England

Teachers are paid more than enough, especially when you take into consideration the three months annual leave that comes with the job. I know teachers don't like us talking about the amount of holiday they get each year, but there aren't many jobs that pay a starting salary of at least £15000+ and offer ten or twelve weeks off each year.
Paul Mulett, UK

Teachers' pay is not good but the working conditions are worse. Many schools are violent and if a teacher is manhandled, regulations forbid them from responding. My own fiancée was held up against a wall by a pupil in an inner London school. There was nothing she could do about it. At present, the Government seem to believe that this crisis can be staved off by importing supply teachers from South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. However these people are mostly not interested in the long-term health of the British education system but on gaining experience to take back home with them.
Tim Saunders, England

People ARE leaving - and in droves. One thing I didn't see before I left England was queues of IT, finance and other professionals queuing up for this apparently cushy number with loads of holiday and fantastic pay.
Nigel Huckstep, Hong Kong


They are always the last to leave for work and the first to arrive home

Ian, Nottingham, England
I live in a little village and I am surrounded by teachers. They are always the last to leave for work and the first to arrive home. As for doing extra work at home I don't know how my neighbours can do this considering they go out early and don't arrive home until after midnight spending weekends and half term as an opportunity to go on holiday (often paid for by the school). If they want decent pay, they should work a decent amount of hours like the rest of us in the real world.
Ian, Nottingham, England

I cannot believe how many people here keep refering to 'all the holidays' teachers get! one of my close friends is a teacher, and she not only works late almost every evening but also has to work over the weekend on admin and marking and so on. In the summer she spends much of the 'holidays' going over the next years lesson plans. On top of this she gets paid very little in comparison to other professionals for doing an incredibly stressful job. After about 8 years of this, she has finally had enough and is moving on to a new career with less stress and more money, as indeed many good teachers are. These people who think teachers are overpaid and on holiday all the time ought to try it for a while - If they lasted, they'd be first in demanding better conditions!
Mike, UK


3.7% would just be an extra lifeboat on the Titanic

David, Loughborough University
It's not the pay! Cut out the red tape and bureaucracy and increase school resources. Give discipline control and respect back to the teachers. Let the teachers do the job they're paid for and love. Acknowledge the extra efforts they now have to put in. 3.7% would just be an extra lifeboat on the Titanic.
David, Loughborough University

I would dearly love to be a teacher and have the necessary qualifications to take a PGCE. However, the Government expect me to live on a maximum of £12,000 a year in London while I do so and then £17,000 after that. I earn twice as much as this at the moment typing a few letters and answering the phone all day. If they really want people to enter the profession then they must ensure that they pay people commensurately. I work for another profession - lawyers - who earn at least five times as much and more (in London). No wonder young graduates are put off!
Janice Carmichael, UK

We have similar problems here in the US. Salary and pay increases should be linked to performance appraisals and production - just like the rest of the working world. If teachers cannot produce results in the classroom, they should be disciplined and, if they continue with poor performance, they should be removed. This is what other employees face. It's not the degree that matters, it's the ability to rate and maintain sustained performance. Do students rate them, how about the parents? As for the 12 week vacation, this is outdated. Children and teachers should be in classrooms year-round. There is no longer a need for summer vacations and education should be continuous for both students and teachers alike. In this regard, I am required to constantly keep abreast of new developments in my field and teachers should be required to do the same.
Linda, USA

This goes someway in redressing the issue, although more must be done to raise the profiles of teachers. In India for instance, teachers are looked upon with respect, as they impart knowledge to the next generation of adults. No such luck in the UK I'm afraid. I think this reflects society in general.
Arvind, UK


Heads of each school should decide what they are prepared to pay post by post

Will, UK
National pay bargaining should be scrapped! Heads of each school should decide what they are prepared to pay post by post. They should be free to reward good teachers with pay rises without having to reward bad teachers at the same time! It would also allow them to be much more responsive to the local cost of living and shortages in certain subjects!
Will, UK

Take care in making comparisons with other countries. In France, for example, I believe that teachers have little or no choice where they teach, they're drafted by the State. I can't see our teachers putting up with that!
Steve, UK

I am a teacher in Australia. We are having the same problems as teachers in the UK. It is the long hours and the lack of discipline that can be so stressful. As for the long holidays, well I am on holiday now and what am I doing but checking the BBC education website for new ideas for the year to come! I am also surfing the internet for useful aides for the classroom using my own computer and paying for my own internet connection. How many public servants do that and in their hols?
Jo, Australia

In Argentina we have the same problem. Teachers are usually paid peanuts and are more often than not overworked. I frankly do not understand where the problem lies. I do not know why certain professions are overvalued and some others like teaching are looked down on. Often times when you say you are a teacher here in Argentine, people ask you and what else you do for a living or they just look at you as if you were a loser who is incapable of doing anything else and therefore devoted himself to teaching. The main problem all this brings about is the lack of quality teachers and the second problem is the lack of teachers. Fewer and fewer people are taking up teaching nowadays simply because they cannot make ends meet, and more and more people who do not hold a degree in teaching are practising the profession as private coaches.
Jorge Reparaz, Argentina


Let's get this in perspective

Phil W, UK
Teachers clearly have a tough job. They work hard, are generally professional in their approach to their work and deserve more recognition. But, so do most of the rest of us, and I would love a 3.7% pay rise and approximately 12 weeks holiday a year. I teach IT in industry and I get 4 weeks holiday a year. My salary has been frozen for about 3 years. Let's get this in perspective.
Phil W, UK

Spencer UK, is obviously not a parent if he believes that teachers have no responsibility. As a Chairman of Governors of a large primary school, I know exactly how much responsibility teachers have. As for 12 weeks holiday, well much of that can be spent preparing for the next term. I know that at our school many of the staff work from 8am until well into the evening.
Mark, UK

Sick to death of listening to teachers moaning about their lot. OK!! Leave!! The same old reasons are given. "In the private sector I could earn much more", we hear teachers cry. Go ahead, join the private sector and believe me you will get the shock of your life. Not a 30 hour week with 13 weeks holiday. Yes I know teachers do some work out of hours but do you think that a financial, IT or commercial professional who earns 25K plus packs their bag at 5:00pm? I don't think so.
James C, England


My teaching wife works twice as hard as I do for a fraction of my pay

Graham Wheatley, UK
My teaching wife works twice as hard as I do for a fraction of my pay. The government (and some taxpayers) seem intent as usual to want enormous commitment for inadequate reward. I have enormous respect for teachers for doing this demanding job in the face of such apathy and indifference.
Graham Wheatley, UK

Our future as a country depends on our ability to teach our children to a high standard. To achieve this we must attract bright, motivated people to teaching. The current pay package offered to a prospective teacher is not good enough. A graduate with a good degree can earn several times a teacher's salary within years of leaving university. Bear in mind that most graduates who are in demand for teaching roles bear a heavy financial burden when leaving university. Why would a bright, motivated individual suited to teaching choose a career where they are not in a position to pay off their loans? I for one didn't.
Benjamin Ives, UK

Will the increase be fully funded by the Government? If not, as a Head I will have cuts in other areas of the budget to worry about.
Helen, Wales


It strikes me that what is needed is a drastic change in the working conditions of teachers

Rob Elliott, Kosovo
It strikes me that what is needed is a drastic change in the working conditions of teachers and a return to the days when they were respected by their pupils and had the backing of the State when dealing with unruly and disruptive pupils. They are unfortunately in the same position as the police today. You lay a finger on anyone stepping out of line and the country's do-gooders and civil liberties people get on your back. Promises of red tape cutting and the return to old moral values never materialise - although as a police officer I wouldn't mind 13 weeks holiday a year!!
Rob Elliott, Kosovo

I think for most teachers it's not about the money. I taught for 2 years in the US where the pay was very respectable. However, when a babysitter gets paid more per hour for watching a child than a teacher does an hour for teaching the same child it is kind of a sad state of affairs.
Emma, USA

If the Government matched the golden handshakes of top blue chip companies (anything up to £10,000 depending on the firm you join), I would be tempted to change career - I'm only 10 months out of Uni. Otherwise I'd be struggling to pay back loans with a really low paid job. I don't want to be in student debt until I'm 25, that's why I didn't bother considering a teaching career. Incite me to sign up and I will, otherwise I'll stay in my comfy office, enjoying 20 hours less a week, and secure in the knowledge I will have knocked my debts off 2 years faster than otherwise would have been the case.
Alex Banks, Wales, Living in Sweden


It is the lack of discipline in the pupils which is a major factor

Ken Beach, Germany
More money might help, but it is the lack of discipline in the pupils which is a major factor - and abusive, ignorant parents as well. I gave up teacher training, and nothing would drag me back into the classroom now. Neither would I be prepared to endure another year of the 70's dinosaur dreamboats who populate teacher training colleges. Read any college prospectus, it is enough to put you off for life!
Ken Beach, Germany

Russell Long - how much do you get paid for installing Windows 2000? I imagine far more than a teacher with 5 years experience who has a job that causes much more stress than the occasional requirement to swap a CD.
Mark Davies, UK

Nick Davis has got his head in the clouds. To suggest that a teacher or any other Government employee should be paid more in the leafy Surrey suburbs where the standard of living is very high than someone doing the same job in a run down inner-city is just beyond me.
SG, UK


Teaching is a profession that may need a complete re-examination

James Egert, UK
I taught for five years as a secondary Mathematics teacher in London, and decided for a number of reasons to begin a new career. My wife also used to be a teacher (modern languages). She too has entered another profession, along with a surprising number of my contemporaries who became NQTs at the beginning of the Nineties. At that time, the economy was not as strong and graduates were happy to embrace a profession with perceived job security and career prospects. Also, many NQTs were optimistic when a Labour government seemed a certainty, and we expected less bureaucracy (at least in the classroom) and better pay. I was not the only one to be disappointed. The issue is not necessarily pay, but the fundamental nature of the profession itself. It is true that teachers are drowning in bureaucracy and often feel threatened by indiscipline in the classroom, but the perception of teaching in England and the cynicism that has developed in the staff room as a result is perhaps more to blame. While the government has done arguably little to improve 'teachers' rights' in the classroom and the bureaucracy and paperwork has reduced almost as insignificantly as pay has risen, we also need to consider the status of teaching within society. In France, and especially Switzerland, teaching is perceived as a profession, comparable to medicine and law. Parental support is far better and teachers do not fear confrontation from over-protective or non caring parents. A patronising UK advertising campaign for teachers has done little to disperse the adage: "Those who can, do. Those who don't, teach." Teaching is a profession that may need a complete re-examination.
James Egert, UK


I can't believe the fuss that is being made.There are a great many professions whose starting salaries are lower than teachers

Russell Long, UK
I think that the 3.7% pay increase is very generous. I can't believe the fuss that is being made. There are a great many professions whose starting salaries are lower than teachers'. I would be the first to admit that teachers have special skills and abilities, but doesn't that apply to most professions? I couldn't claim to be able to teach, but then I wouldn't ask a teacher to install and configure a Windows 2000 server. So, teachers, considering you get a quarter of the year off that the rest of us have to work, don't you think you should be enjoying your pay instead of complaining that it's not enough?
Russell Long, UK

I don't feel that salary is the correct issue to be addressing. Responsibilities and pupil behaviour is a far more serious problem. If we take Italy as an example. The salary paid to teachers there is paltry (perhaps 12k if one is very experienced), but they are given more choice in how and what they teach, do not have the admin overhead, and don't have the rapidly worsening behaviour of teenagers to the same extent. As a result, the Italian education system is overwhelmed with applications (they only accept new teaching candidates every 5 years or so, due to the huge response they receive).
Steve, UK

There has got to be a limit to how much teachers earn. £17k starting salary is comparable to other graduate positions and is better paid than many skilled jobs. I do appreciate the work they do and the demands they're under but I doubt they're worse than any other profession. I personally think I pay enough tax and any extra tax demanded of me should pay for those worse off e.g. nurses.
Iain, England

I left teaching some years ago. I now earn less than half of what I could if I was teaching. Why don't I go back? The money is a great incentive, but the stresses of the job were too great! Give teachers the help they need so they don't become seriously stressed; don't overload them with admin; trust them to be able to do their job, recognise the efforts they make instead of continually suggesting education is getting worse, and teacher shortages will diminish. Money will not answer everything.
Barbara, UK

No mention has been made, yet again of students who are undertaking a 4 year teacher training course with the sole intention of qualifying as a teacher and who receive no financial incentives. These students are in fact paying up to £1,025 per year for tuition fees. I would be interested to hear the reason for this seemingly short sighted and unfair regime.
Andrea Bamford, England

Teachers pay needs to be assessed on a local basis. The helping out with housing idea needs to be factored directly into the salary. Here in Weybridge, Surrey you need £30,000/year to survive and that just isn't the case in South Wales say. Let schools be as autonomous as small companies and decide for themselves what to pay.
Nick Davis, England


Give them a 15% pay increase. Introduce performance appraisals to teaching staff and pay the best performers

Michael Thomas, UK
When looking at other European countries at the status in society that teaching has, our teachers are treated badly. With the money that is available I think the remedy should be very simple. Streamline the red tape, put the savings into the teacher's pay packet. Give them a 15% pay increase. Introduce performance appraisals to teaching staff and pay the best performers. Use some of the holiday they get to train under achieving teachers to make them better at their jobs. This isn't radical but standard industry practices in the private sector. Teaching should be paid at level comparable to industry but it should not be money for nothing either.
Michael Thomas, UK

I feel that the 3.7% pay rise for teachers will sadly do nothing to address teacher shortages or overall teacher moral. My wife is a teacher with over 10 years experience and I believe that both she and her colleagues are very poorly rewarded for what is a difficult and increasingly stressful job. I am aware of many teachers who are or who would like to leave the profession, both those who are experienced and also younger teachers who can see no long term career prospects only a short time after completing long and expensive training.
Kevin, England

I think that teachers might wish to compare their salaries with other public sector workers before claiming particular hardship. For example, A PhD Scientist, despite having around 3 more years of postgraduate education than a teacher will only earn around 17K. Graduates in the civil service will take home several thousand less than a newly qualified teacher despite, in many cases, the demand for a higher classification of degree than teachers must provide. Furthermore, through headship, there is scope for promotion wage levels significantly in excess 45K. Given the generally low quality of degree that the teaching profession attracts, I can think of far more deserving cases for 'inflation busting' wage rises.
Dr. M. Moran, UK


The problem is retention not recruitment,especially in London

Simon, UK
The problem is retention not recruitment (especially in London ). The teachers who are leaving are those with 5 years' experience, salary of £21k and very stressed.
Simon, UK

The pay award will not solve the biggest problem. Experienced teachers leaving after 5 to 10 years in the profession. It is these teachers who do the bulk of the teaching work, with the experience to raise standards, maintain discipline and provide continuity for students.
Jon, Manchester, England

If a starting salary of 17k is inadequate for a school teacher, what does this say about a University Lecturer's starting pay, which is also 17k even though the job normally requires a Masters degree and a Doctorate (an additional 4 years of full-time training compared to a school teacher), and it is Universities that train teachers in the first place.
AB, UK

Spencer (UK) couldn't be more wrong about "little exposure to serious responsibility"! I wouldn't accept in loco parentis responsibility for anyone else's brats for that price, especially as the law effectively forbids proper discipline! As for the "12 week holiday", it is peanuts compared to the extra hours spent on government beauocracy and marking coursework. Moreover as a professional I would expect enough to at least pay for a mortgage - you try that on in south east England!
P, UK

To "Spencer, England" - you've just unwittingly hit the nail on the head. Many teachers are in fact doing just what you suggested; seeking other professions because they aren't satisfied with the pay. And this is why we have such a shortage now. Okay so they get 12 weeks holiday. However, most teachers that I know are dedicated enough to take work home with them, therefore working very long hours without many members of the public appreciating or respecting this fact. Conversely, in the much better paid private sector where I work, most people are very good at forgetting work completely as soon as they leave the office. I think that the pay-rise is relatively poor when compared to the politicians who award themselves huge rises even when the country and the teachers in question are arguably suffering because of them.
Marcus, England


The cream of British graduates should be teaching. As those with ability go into other professions, we will all eventually lose

Andy, UK
The cream of British graduates should be teaching. As those with ability go into other professions, we will all eventually lose. Those teaching at the moment are not able and do not have the ability to expand children's horizons. My children gained GCSEs and A levels not because of their teachers but in-spite of them. My children are typical - they complain bitterly about the quality of teaching and what they learnt was due to their own efforts, and the extra teaching for which we had to pay.
Andy, UK

As an excellent primary school teacher of 31 years experience, I was never unhappy about my salary. What drove me out 2 years ago with a nervous breakdown was my 70 hour week working 7am-6pm in the school building with a quick snack at lunchtime, working in the evenings when exhausted from the day and the obligatory after school activity one had to offer, meeting or training session, then going in at weekends to mark homework, have planning meetings or renew wall displays and generally having to do without any sort of life beyond teaching. Anyone who thinks teaching is a doddle should spend a month, day and night with a primary teacher, then speak with an informed opinion.
Jacquie, England

If people think teaching pay should be higher then those who actually have children attending schools should be taxed more to provide the increase. Why should I have to pay for educating the kids you chose to have?
Neil Pearce, England


I think £25k is a more than adequate salary

Spencer, England
So how much is enough? I think £25k is a more than adequate salary for those in a profession that offers 12 week holidays and very little exposure to serious responsibility. If teachers are not satisfied with pay or prospects, then they should change profession just like everyone else faced with similar circumstances.
Spencer, England

Married to a teacher, it appears to me that the most important issue for teachers is the pressure associated with the job. It is possible that increased pay to attract more graduates into the profession would alleviate some of the current staffing problems. However, I think that the number of teachers leaving the industry is a far bigger problem. A longer term solution would surely be to restructure the job to remove some of the administrative overhead currently endured by teachers and thereby allow more of them to remain in the industry. In this way, we can retain the expertise that these professionals have built up through the years, which can in turn be passed on to their newer colleagues.
Martin Kirby, UK


No wonder there is a recruitment crisis

Phil, England
I am currently a science teacher in my 2nd year or the job. When comparing my salary with that of my peers in industry, mine falls short. I am never bored, but very stressed and feel undervalued both by my salary and the public perception of my job created by the media. So far, I have witnessed two of my colleagues leave due to mental illness (nervous breakdown). This is not the amount of stress normally associated with a job that only pays up to 23k. No wonder there is a recruitment crisis.
Phil, England

An experienced teacher - say 5 years - should be in the upper quartile of earnings, not just the average UK salary. Move some of the cost of the DfEE into teachers' salaries. That would also reduce political interference.
Michael Kelly, UK

The pay rise is great if it actually happens. However my sister is a teacher in the state sector. She has not yet received last year's pay rise and only half of the year before. This government can announce all the pay increases it pleases but if they don't provide the local education authorities with the funds to meet them, then press releases are meaningless. My sister, who has degrees in Maths and Chemistry will be leaving teaching at the end of the summer term. Well done Mr Blair. Great result.
KS, UK


Teachers have been underpaid for years, enduring below inflation increases time and again

Richard G, UK
Of course it's not good enough. Teachers have been underpaid for years, enduring below inflation increases time and again. An independent review of their pay is needed (just like politicians had several years ago). Only then will the real value of our teachers be determined - and more of the right people would be attracted to the profession.
Richard G, UK

As a mother and a taxpayer, I would be prepared to pay good teachers more, but they should be happy to submit to rigorous performance appraisals like the rest of us in work. For good performers and those who are dedicated, we should be paying substantially more to attract and retain the right talent and commitment. We should also have the guts to get rid of the poor performers.
Gillie Guy, UK

Teachers should be accorded the same respect as other professionals such as Doctors, Lawyers, solicitors etc. They are not and the pay scale reflects this. What do we need more of... Lawyers and litigation or Teachers and Education? Children are our most precious resource: recognition and pay for those who work with them should be much higher.
Mark, UK


£17,000 - for a job that is so important for our children and the future of the whole country? I agree that it is pathetic

Reg Pither, England
£17,000 - for a job that is so important for our children and the future of the whole country? I agree that it is pathetic. I think that a MINIMUM of £20,000 for primary school teachers and much more for secondary would be much closer to a reasonable wage for a job that is so vital and is increasingly stressful. If any party actually put this in their manifesto and did the same for nurses, they'd get my vote forever!
Reg Pither, England

This paltry award is not all bad news in the medium term. As the teacher shortage crisis becomes more acute as it will now - eventually government will have no option but to meet a much greater increase to avoid the catastrophe which will soon impact.
Steve Hughes, England

Why not move teachers' pay onto a similar footing to the rest of the professional workforce. If I don't perform well in my job I don't get a pay rise or may even lose my job. Poor teachers are just left to plod on. If, however, I do well I will get a pay rise and possibly a bonus. Why not introduce a similar scheme for teachers? This would encourage those who can teach and help weed out the indifferent teachers who seem unable to motivate or even control their pupils.
Dave Jones, UK

The real issue is not pay, it is conditions. No-one seems to mention that a full teachers workload means around 60 hours a week, coping with constant changes in curricula, endless report writing and resulting in real stress. Even a 50% pay increase still wouldn't retain staff for the long term.
Graduates will join to pay off their student loans and leave as soon as they can. Education needs massive investment in well-paid support staff to reduce teacher workload and let teachers teach. If not, this country just won't be equipped with the workforce to compete in the coming century.
Simon Canfer, UK


I am not convinced that money alone will make any difference

Clive Mitchell, UK
Would it be enough if there were plenty of teachers, small class sizes, the National Curriculum didn't change constantly and all parents produced polite, respectful pupils? I am not convinced that money alone will make any difference.
Clive Mitchell, UK

Well, if the 3.7% can be used as an aggregate, and not an across the board give-away, perhaps it would be adequate. In other words, some teachers would get nothing and others might get 20%. You'll never get the best and the brightest if everyone is treated the same ... that's called socialism, and it is been thoroughly discredited!
Mark M. Newdick, USA/UK


When will they get it right?

Heather Slater, UK
I feel very disappointed with the 3.7% pay rise for teachers. I am a teacher myself and this is my third year in the profession. I have a £6000 student loan that I will have to start paying back this year at £106 per month plus other debts that were accumulated during my training. I feel resentful that the Government is spending a lot of money trying to recruit new teachers by paying some teachers to train but are not working hard enough to ensure that experienced teachers stay in the profession. I am an I.C.T. specialist and if I decided to retrain I could earn upwards of £25,000 in a very short time. When will they get it right?
Heather Slater, UK

Teachers in England and Wales should be happy with the 3.7%. As long as we can give Scottish teachers 21%, which is paid for by the English taxpayer, then there's no problem as long as the Scots can have devolution from us because they detest the English but then get us to pay for everything like sops. Well done Mr Blair.
Nick, England

As someone who has spent 35 years in secondary teaching both in the US and England I must say that I find the present salary structure for teachers in the UK to be appalling. The salary scale in the district where I am employed is roughly twice that of this UK agreement and we still have difficulty attracting great teachers.
Robert Adamson, USA

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
See also:

02 Feb 01 | Education
Teachers to get 3.7% pay rise


Links to more Talking Point stories