Letter: Fair reward for all good teachers

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The Independent Online
Sir: The Government's proposal to pay enhanced salaries to "superteachers" can only be viewed as a silly gimmick in the context of the continuing inequalities in pay and other rewards in the system as a whole. If, as you say ("You can't afford to pay peanuts, Mr Blunkett", 6 August), "more money has to be part of the solution", is it too much to ask that further education lecturers of 16-19-year-olds share in this educational windfall?

Since 1993, lecturers in Britain's colleges whose conditions of service transferred from their former LEA employers have had their pay completely frozen. This was a government-inspired decision to force them to transfer to inferior contracts involving longer hours in the class room, fewer holidays and the requirement to teach more students with diminished resources. These staff include a fair percentage among their number that could qualify for the proposed new "advanced skills grade". They are unlikely to benefit from Mr Blunkett's proposals however, since their pay will remain frozen.

The situation for non-teaching managers in the further education sector could not be more different. Salary levels for Principals and other non- teaching senior staff have never been better. At over pounds 80,000 per annum, plus perks such as cars, expense accounts and interest-free loans, the salary packages of these senior staff put those of the Prime Minister and Education Secretary in the shade.

The job requirements of all teachers and lecturers have changed and will continue to change over the years. A committee of inquiry, into pay, conditions of service, career development and prospects for all teachers, is the only way that a broad consensus can be reached on the future of the education service which is seen properly to reward good teachers while motivating all to reach for higher standards.

DAVID ROBINSON

National Officer

Lecturers Employment Advice and Action Fellowship

Thorpe Bay,

Essex

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