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EDITIONS
Friday, 2 February, 2001, 20:16 GMT
Greener grass to the north?
staffroom
Staffrooms everywhere will be discussing the rise
Might teachers leave England for a better deal in Scotland? In England the government has said that teachers will be earning more after this year's pay award than their Scottish counterparts, who are getting a 10% rise. But there is more to it than money.

The idea that there might be a "brain drain" of teachers from the English side of the border was raised after union leaders in Scotland accepted a 21% pay offer over three years.

scott wylie
Scott Wylie: Contemplating a move
What made it a particularly attractive option was the maximum 35-hour working week, and additional support staff to help reduce the burden of paperwork.

Lochinvar School, a small, 200-pupil secondary in Longtown near Carlisle, is close to the border on the English side.

The head of geography, Scott Wylie, finds himself contemplating a move north, and says he is not alone.

"Scotland are going to attract the best people, they're going to be able to pick the best people out of the whole pot.

'Recruitment difficulties'

"That's going to help the system in Scotland but it's going to do nothing for the system in England."

Andrew Ward
Head teacher Andrew Ward: "Teachers undervalued in England"
Lochinvar's head teacher, Andrew Ward, was just as forthright on the subject.

"The Scottish parliament has said 'we value education, we value educators, we're going to put money into that and we're going to back it up with conditions of service'," he said.

"The English government haven't done likewise.

"A school so close to the border as we are - just one mile away - is going to face increasing staff difficulties in terms of recruitment and retention.

"I found it very difficult to get a music teacher this year. I can only see that getting worse."

Fiona Moir
Student Fiona Moir: Leaning towards the north
Fiona Muir, a mature student teacher at the school, is keeping her options open.

"I think at the moment I'm more likely to end up teaching in Scotland," she said.

"I think particularly as a newly qualified teacher I'm going to be better off financially.

"And almost as important - if not more important - the conditions that you're going to work under - they're trying to work towards limiting the number of hours that teachers have to do."

The Department for Education has said that new teachers will, from April, get 1,000 more in England.

It has said that direct comparisons between pay and conditions in the two countries are "not meaningful".

But teachers seem likely to make up their own minds.

Click here for more on teachers' pay

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12 Jan 01 | Scotland
19 Jan 01 | Scotland
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