Commenting on a report by the Education Policy Institute looking at school shortfalls and variations in teacher pay, Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said:

“As the EPI report itself notes, teacher recruitment and retention problems are widespread and severe. The proposals in the EPI report for yet further fragmentation of pay will cause more problems. 

“Recruitment and retention problems affect the whole system, including schools of different types and locations. The dismantling of the national teacher pay structure has contributed to the teacher recruitment and retention crisis, because it has removed the clarity, fairness and transparency that is so important in attracting and retaining teachers.  One of the key reasons we need a national pay structure for teachers is to enable mobility across the huge school system, including disadvantaged schools.

“’Targeted’ approaches to teacher pay have not solved the deepening recruitment and retention problems and have simply moved shortages around the system.  They create dismay amongst teachers who do not benefit and further reduce pay fairness and transparency. 

Recruitment and retention problems may be more or less severe according to various measures, but the key point is that the problem is a system-wide one. 

That means we need whole system solutions including the restoration of the national pay structure, making good the pay teachers have lost against inflation and ensuring that teacher pay levels are competitive with those of other graduate professions.”