At the end of July the Chief Secretary to the Treasury wrote to the members of the School Teachers’ Review Body – currently without an appointed chairperson – about their work in the forthcoming year. Unlike the letter to the Health Review Body, the letter to the School Teachers’ Review Body does at least accept that there may well be a case for a pay rise for teachers next year if there are staffing problems; albeit probably another year within a one per cent envelope.
Clearly, the government will need to be persuaded that recruitment and retention issues are affecting teaching as a profession since this factor is the main justification that the government will accept for pay increases. At least, with rising pupil numbers, and the Pupil Premium cash available to schools, there should be little reason for the government to argue that pay should be held down because schools cannot afford to pay any increase. To do so would be to fly in the face of the mantra of the past four years that funding for schools has been protected just at the time when the Chief Secretary acknowledges in the letter that the fiscal forecast shows the public finances returning to a more sustainable position.
At this blog has steadfastly maintained, there is a developing recruitment crisis in terms of attracting sufficient numbers of graduates of the required quality into teaching. A short-term solution would create a competitive starting point for new a teacher that is equivalent to salaries for graduates already having spent a year in the labour market in order to compensate for the extra year of training. An alternative would be to pay everyone a training wage at least equivalent to the £24,000+ paid to graduates training at Sandhurst pro rata for the different lengths of the training courses. The Treasury, and presumably the Chief Secretary, wouldn’t like this as they would have to pay for many that would opt to train as a teacher anyway. But, no such test is applied to whether or not the British Army, and indeed the other services, has the same recruitment difficulties attracting graduates and could ask for both the training fees as well as payment for board and lodging most trainee teachers are expected to fund.
The professional associations will already be preparing their submissions to the Review Body, and I am sure that recruitment, and possibly retention, issues will feature strongly. The evidence of earlier posts on this blog suggests a situation certainly no better than last year, and possibly worse in some subjects. However, it will be November and the ITT census before the real position is known.
As a result of this delay in gathering information, and the lack of real-time information on trainees movement into employment that still exists, I am working to find a way to gather this information quickly, easily and cheaply. Thirty years ago I started tracking the leadership labour market in real-time; and as seemingly nobody else is doing it for the wider profession, unlike in other countries, I suppose I must show how it can be done here.