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Thursday, 13 September, 2001, 16:51 GMT 17:51 UK
Teachers call for 'substantial' pay rise
class room
Pay remains an issue, unions say
The five organisations representing most teachers in England and Wales have called for a pay rise of more than 12.5% for newly-qualified teachers.

The unions say this is needed to combat the current teacher shortages.

Their joint submission to the School Teachers Review Body proposes a new pay structure that would take teachers to 28,000 after five years - compared with 22,035 under the present structure.

They also want changes to the new, higher pay scale and a new status, which could see teachers at the top of their grade earning 43,000.

The unions say England and Wales need to learn lessons from Scotland, where last year's McCrone settlement on pay is said to be proving highly attractive to recruits.

Recruitment difficulties

The joint claim comes from the National Union of Teachers, Association of Teachers and Lecturers, the National Association of Schoolmasters/Union of Women Teachers, Professional Association of Teachers and Uneb Canedlaethol Athrawon Cymru.

In their 24-page submission, they say the inability of teaching to attract graduates is underlined again by the high proportion of students with lower class degrees accepted to training courses.

This has led the Teacher Training Agency to abandon its target of ensuring that by 2002 at least 95% of trainees possess a minimum of a lower second class degree.

Teacher supply problems will not be tackled, they say, unless substantial improvements are made to teachers' pay working conditions.

As well as recruitment problems the profession also finds it hard to keep people.

Retention problems

"We believe that the causes of retention problems are similar to those of recruitment: Salary levels, career progression, conditions of service and the status of the profession," the submission says.

They say the evidence shows that teachers start at a salary disadvantage relative to other graduate professions, then fall further behind.

Research published by Incomes Data Services in February, with the latest data on graduate starting salaries and progression, suggested that starting salaries for graduates as a whole would average 19,157 in 2001.

Teachers' starting salaries from April 2001 were 17,001 - almost 12.7% less.

"Like salary levels, poor relative rates of salary progression send out all the wrong signals from a profession which needs to compete effectively against other graduate employers," the unions say.

Complex pay structure

Most graduates starting on 19,157 in 2001 might expect 28,161 after three years and 33,525 after five years on the basis of the Incomes Date Services figures.

But a newly-qualified teacher would start on 17,001 in September 2001, rising to 19,821 after three years and 22,035 after five years - a gap of 11,490.

The unions say that not only is pay too low, the nine-point basic salary structure, with a new, higher pay scale for those who "cross the threshold" onto performance-related pay, is too complex.

Other research had indicated that a teacher was fully competent after three to five years.

"We do not know of other professions where graduates with a dedicated qualification need to wait seven or eight years before they are deemed to be able to carry out all the functions of their immediate post," they say.

They favour the sort of six-point basic scale recommended by the Scottish McCrone report.

New status

They say the threshold and upper pay scale should be replaced with arrangements more like the McCrone concept of the "chartered teacher".

"We envisage that a chartered teacher would be able to earn, in current terms and without extra allowances, up to 43,000," their submission says.

Commenting on the claim, the NUT general secretary, Doug McAvoy, said teaching had to compete for graduates but, as the shortage showed, it could not.

"With up to a 2,800 shortfall in pay for newly qualified teachers, the profession has no hope of recruiting sufficient young graduates and of retaining them," he said.

"The government has admitted that the drop out rate from teaching is extremely high.

"It cannot continue to pretend that the shortage crisis is a phenomenon confined to one part of the country or that it is a short-term problem.

"Teachers' pay must be competitive but teachers' conditions of service must also protect teachers. The introduction of a 35-hour week in Scotland has shown the way."

See also:

13 Sep 01 | Scotland
28 Apr 01 | UK Education
02 Feb 01 | UK Education
22 Jun 00 | Teachers Pay
12 Sep 00 | UK Education
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