Give good teachers a bigger incentive to stay

Share

The government deserves congratulations for the fact that recruitment to teacher training courses is at its highest level for seven years. There is no doubt that its introduction of a £6,000 training salary for students on a Post-Graduate Certificate of Education course and a £4,000 top-up for trainee teachers in shortage subjects has a lot to do with the upward trend shown in the recruitment figures.

The government deserves congratulations for the fact that recruitment to teacher training courses is at its highest level for seven years. There is no doubt that its introduction of a £6,000 training salary for students on a Post-Graduate Certificate of Education course and a £4,000 top-up for trainee teachers in shortage subjects has a lot to do with the upward trend shown in the recruitment figures.

Even these promising figures fail to meet the Government's own targets for recruitment to secondary schools, however, while independent research commissioned by the National Union of Teachers shows that as many as four out of every 10 teachers who sign on for a training course do not end up in the classroom. That research also shows the ticking time-bomb of an ageing teaching profession, because 59 per cent of teachers are over 40 and therefore likely to retire in the next decade.

With trainees spending more college time in teaching practice rather than behind a desk, it can be deduced that a key reason for large numbers deciding to opt out could be the conditions they see in the classroom. This new research, therefore, adds urgency to the negotiations between ministers and the teachers' unions over workload and the prospect of a new contract for the profession. Again, the Government is moving in the right direction with the employment of more classroom assistants to give teachers more time to devote to teaching. But a piecemeal approach does not match up to the scale of the problem.

One radical step would be to beef up the scheme for performance-related pay. At present, good teachers qualify for a £2,000 rise once they reach the top of their pay spine, but this takes several years to achieve – years during which many able teachers decide to seek a job elsewhere. A bigger incentive for good classroom teachers earlier on in their career is needed. Headteachers should be given more freedom to pay the teachers that they want the salaries they need to get them and keep them.

Other reasons for leaving cited by former teachers, such as unruly pupils, are more difficult to solve and involve broader issues of social responsibility. But a lot can be achieved without looking over the school wall, and, for once, resources are not a problem: the only difficulty is finding ways to spend the money that Gordon Brown has allocated. A Prime Minister who has insisted for so many years that "education, education and education" are his top three priorities should have, and still could, put our money where his mouth is.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Pre-Press / Mac Operator / Artworker - Digital & Litho Print

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: With year on year growth and a reputation for ...

Recruitment Genius: Project Manager - Live Virtual Training / Events

£24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Manager is required t...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Group has been well establishe...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Group has been well establishe...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

FIFA awarded the World Cup to a state where slavery is actively facilitated

Aidan McQuade
 

The strange absence of women on our cultural landscape, and what I decided to do about it

Sian Norris
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003