England’s teachers have had the second biggest pay cut in the developed world. Pay has only fallen more for teachers in economically unstable Greece.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) today reported on education trends from around the world, revealing that teachers’ pay has fallen 10 per cent in England and Wales between 2005-2017.
Despite a generally higher starting salary for teachers in Scotland compared to England, pay progression in Scotland appears worse, with Scotland behind England for teachers’ pay at the top end of the pay scale in both primary and secondary.
The report, Education at a Glance 2018, reveals that Scotland’s teachers work some of the longest hours of any OECD country with a very high percentage of time spent in front of the class.
On average, across the 28 OECD countries and economies with comparable data, primary teacher pay rose by 8 per cent, lower secondary by 7 per cent and upper secondary by 5 per cent.
The report warned: “since compensation and working conditions are important for attracting, developing and retaining skilled and high-quality teachers and school heads, it is important for policy makers to carefully consider their salaries and career prospects as they try to ensure both quality teaching and sustainable education budgets.”
While teachers in other developed countries such as Hungary, Israel, Poland, Sweden and Norway have enjoyed 20% pay rises in the past 12 years, British teachers have seen salaries drop alarmingly.
The Government today insisted that by 2020, school funding will rise to a record £43.5 billion, 50 per cent more in real terms per pupil than it was in 2000 and by the end of the decade we will have created one million more school places since 2010 – the fastest increase for two generations.
This is backed by £23 billion by 2021 to ensure every child has access to a good school place and means the average primary class size is 27.1 and the average secondary class is 21.2.
Teachers are due to get a 3.5 per cent pay rise this year, but with inflation at 2.4 per cent the Institute of Fiscal Studies pointed out this would mean a real-terms pay cut for 60 per cent of teachers.
Secretary of State for Education Damian Hinds today responded:
“Since 2010 there are 1.9 million more children taught in good or outstanding schools, the attainment gap between rich and poor has shrunk by 10 per cent and we have reformed qualifications to make them something parents, universities and employers can trust.”
The OECD study revealed that despite campaigns about the majority of British schools losing out on funding in real terms, the United Kingdom is now among the top three countries for education spending as a proportion of gross domestic product (GDP).