Pupils in affluent areas 'get lower grades because of teachers' pay' deals

National salary scales mean some schools cannot attract quality staff, say researchers

Pupils in the most affluent areas of the country get lower GCSE grades because their state schools cannot attract enough top quality teachers, a study says today.

Researchers from Bristol University claim that national teacher pay scales have "a negative impact on pupil learning" that equates, in some high cost of living areas, to every pupil dropping a grade in one of their GCSEs. The findings will rekindle the row between Education Secretary Michael Gove and teachers' leaders over the proposed abolition of national bargaining in favour of regional pay.

Teachers' unions have warned of industrial action if there is any attempt to move away from national pay scales – on the grounds the reforms are likely to lead to wage cuts for teachers in deprived inner city areas, where the cost of living is lower. The School Teachers' Review Body, an independent body appointed by the Government that reviews pay, is due to report next month. Strikes by teachers could follow if it backs regional pay and its findings are accepted by ministers.

The research by Bristol University, for the Economic and Social Research Council, warned that the current pay system "can cause difficulties in recruitment and retention [in high cost of living areas], especially of high quality workers. High ability teachers might decide to leave the profession, move within the profession to a region where their relative wage is higher or be deterred from entering teaching in the first place."

The researchers, who studied data from 200,000 teachers in 3,000 state schools, looked at pupils' results in national curriculum tests for 11-year-olds and compared them with their GCSE results. They found that those in areas with a lower cost of living had more "value added" – a bigger improvement in grades than expected.

Schools "add less value" in areas where there are more career options other than teaching, the report says. The difference in the pass rate was the equivalent to pupils dropping one GCSE grade for every 10 per cent increase in the average salary levels for the region. The research also showed that average wage levels in inner London were 30 per cent higher than in the north-east of England.

By contrast, the difference in teachers' salaries was only 9 per cent. The study is likely to be seized upon by Mr Gove as he seeks a radical overhaul of teachers' pay. So far any progress towards a more flexible structure has been modest, despite academies and free schools being granted the freedom to negotiate their own pay rates. Most have been reluctant to change.

Liberal Democrats have voiced concerns that a regional pay structure could hamper recruitment in disadvantaged communities. However, if the pay review body were to suggest scrapping a centralised pay structure, it would revive interest in the idea.

The Department for Education said: "We have asked the School Teachers' Review Body to consider how teachers' pay arrangements might be made more market-facing. The STRB are currently in consultation with a wide range of stakeholders and we look forward to hearing their recommendations in the autumn."

Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association for School and College Leaders, doubted the conclusions of the study: "A lot of research has been done about regional pay and nobody was able to find any evidence that regional pay would apply to teachers in this way."

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
Ben Little, right, is a Labour supporter while Jonathan Rogers supports the Green Party
general election 2015
News
The 91st Hakone Ekiden Qualifier at Showa Kinen Park, Tokyo, 2014
news
Life and Style
Former helicopter pilot Major Tim Peake will become the first UK astronaut in space for over 20 years
food + drinkNothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
News
Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring a second for Arsenal against Reading
football
Life and Style
health
Voices
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
news
Life and Style
Buyers of secondhand cars are searching out shades last seen in cop show ‘The Sweeney’
motoringFlares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Advisor - OTE £30,000

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Advisor - OTE £30,000

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Administration Assistant / Apprenticeship Industry

£16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity for an e...

Recruitment Genius: NVQ Assessor

£17000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Private Training Provider off...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own