The Damage to Teachers Pay and Prospects
(Least We Forget)
The SSTA as part of the Teachers’ Side of the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers (SNCT) submitted a 10% restorative pay claim. This claim was seen as a sensible and realistic pay claim following years of austerity measures that reduced considerably the ‘true’ value of teachers’ salaries. The SSTA estimated that an increase in the region of 23% would be needed to return teachers’ salaries to comparable levels.
It is worth reminding ourselves of other damaging measures taken over the last number of years by the Government and local authorities (COSLSA). These measures have impacted unfairly upon the salary and career prospects of teachers. These are often forgotten when discussing teachers’ pay.
Classroom Teachers – The removal of the Chartered Teacher scale prevented teachers, who wanted to remain focused on the classroom, and access salaries up to £44,727. This together with the constant demand for educational change has resulted in never ending workload making teaching a very unattractive career choice for new graduates.
Supply Teachers – If you add the contempt shown by many local authorities to supply teachers over the years just adds to the damage to the profession. Every school relies upon supply teachers to maintain the school service to pupils. By cutting the starting salaries and the ‘disgraceful’ practice, by some local authorities, deliberately preventing supply teachers receiving continuous work prevented them receiving their correct salaries. This has led to supply teachers being undervalued and abused and has resulted in many walking away from the profession. Now the shortage of supply teachers has increased teacher workload and prevented any opportunity of professional development during the school week. Teachers are now being bullied into carrying-out essential curriculum and qualification work outside school hours and at weekends.
Promoted Posts – The drive by local authorities to decimate posts of responsibilities in secondary schools has seen any prospect of additional salary through promotion rapidly diminish. Unfortunately, management restructuring is still taking place in schools despite the potential for new ‘manageable’ posts of responsibility being advocated by the Teachers’ Career Pathway Committee.
Principal Teachers – Principal teachers of subject have virtually disappeared in most schools but all of their work has been passed down to main scale teachers who receive the responsibility but don’t receive recognition or enhanced salaries.
Curriculum Leaders – Curriculum leader post holders have been given ever increasing workload and less management time to carry out these responsibilities. The increasing number of teacher vacancies and the lack of supply teachers has seen increased teaching commitments for curriculum leaders. This together with less time to carry out their duties and the never ending demand for ‘evidence and data’ from above, is adding to the stress of these teachers. Is it any wonder that an increasing number of teachers are reluctant to move into these management roles.
Guidance and Pupil Support – Guidance and pupil support teachers have become unmanageable following years of cuts in specialist teachers and education support staff. The ever increasing pupil caseloads with more complex and demanding needs has added to the problem. But to add insult to injury the ‘job-sizing toolkit’ that was devised in a different age, doesn’t recognise the responsibilities of these overworked and undervalued highly skilled teachers.
Depute Heads and Headteachers – Depute and headteachers are becoming a rare breed. The expectations placed upon Headteachers and additional workload, often passed down from local authorities, will not entice teachers into these posts. The added threat of the Government’s Headteachers’ Charter with increased responsibilities, that most Headteachers don’t want, will only worsen the recruitment crisis.
Don’t forget the action of others that have reduced
teacher career prospects and depressed teachers’ pay
( and don’t mention the end of ‘Life Time Conservation’)