Pay increase call for inner-city teachers

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TEACHERS in inner-city schools should be paid more than colleagues elsewhere because of the difficult nature of their job, Professor Eric Bolton said yesterday, writes Ngaio Crequer.

Professor Bolton, who retired last year as Her Majesty's senior chief inspector of schools, said society, and the education world, did not sufficiently recognise how difficult it was to teach in some large inner cities and urban estates. It was important to attract a much larger proportion of the very best teachers to the inner city and persuade them to stay.

'Given just how difficult it can be, it seems to me that we could, and should, emphasise that, to be an effective teacher in those circumstances, and, in the face of constant, daily disappointments and problems, to maintain enthusiasm and high expectations of one's self and one's pupils, is the most challenging and demanding job in education. Those who do it well are, and should be recognised as being, among the very best teachers we have in the country,' he told a conference in London.

The professor, now at London's Institute of Education, said: 'We need to ensure teachers in general are paid decently, and we have to think seriously of rewarding better than others, those who work effectively in the most difficult and challenging of circumstances.'

He said that it was also important that alongside the publication of league tables for schools, there should be data indicating what value has been added by the school. It should take account of where schools start from as well as where they arrive at.