Education Letter: Make teaching attractive

Maureen O'Connor identifies many of the reasons why fewer graduates are attracted to teaching. ("Where have all the teachers gone?" EDUCATION, 2 December).

"Golden hellos" for a few do not solve the teacher shortages in nearly all subjects. The new numeracy test is an irrelevant disincentive to most trainees. Why should pupils be deprived of potentially excellent arts or humanities teachers because those trainees are not mathematicians?

We must make teaching an attractive profession for new graduates and serving teachers. The time has indeed come for "a training salary for student teachers".

We also need to compare teachers with other professionals like chartered accountants, who earn more, have better employment conditions and enjoy greater professional status.


General Secretary, Professional Association of Teachers