News on the pay front

The latest report from the School Teacher Review Body was published today. The report is useful in that it brings all the data about pay and teacher supply issues together in one place. Whether teachers will find it helpful will depend very much on how schools respond to the recommended changes that amount to a 1% uplift on most salary scale minima and maxima, but a 2% uplift on the top of the main scale.

Teachers looking for jobs can now bargain over salary and schools that have signed up to TeachVac are being told our view of the current status of the subject in terms of the market for classroom teachers in secondary schools every time the upload a vacancy. Yesterday, both sciences and mathematics reached the level of vacancies that suggest there have been enough jobs to remove a third of trainees from the market. Today is shaping up to be the largest since day for vacancies in some subjects so far in 2015.

But, to return to the STRB Report. What is clear is that even without taking into account the fact that teachers entering the labour market are one year older than most other new graduate entrants, pay is slipping outside London compared to other graduates. Perhaps next time the STRB will look at what graduate entrants to large firms earn after their first year and compare that salary with the rate paid to teachers after training. However, using the longer lens going back to before the recession, there is still some evidence that those teachers that joined in the early 2000s are only now starting to see their salary advantages whittled away. For me, the message seems to be; this year the 2% may just about see the government through as a pay increase, but next year, if the economy continues to grow and teaching doesn’t respond, the recruitment situation will probably become worse. The message sent out by this report from the STRB will affect the 2016 labour market if it doesn’t help recruit more teachers into training for this coming September, as the 2015 entrants are the new teachers of 2016.

Now that the TV advertising campaign has finally started, it will be interesting to see what effect it has upon recruitment. Personally, I think it is a bit late in the year and I hope that next time it runs during the autumn term when many more undergraduates are thinking about what future career to choose. Still, I suspect it may be better value for money that the banner advertising School Direct I saw outside one secondary school recently. Personally, I would have though the money spend might have had a better reach either using a social media campaign or good old fashioned press advertising. Relying on the motorists that drive by to take their eyes off the road as means of recruitment seems a risky strategy to me in more ways than one.


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