NFER on teacher shortages in STEM subjects 

Commenting on new research by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) showing that Government proposals on teacher pay are not the solution to recruitment problems, particularly in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects, Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said: 

"The NFER research is further confirmation of the damage that will be caused by the Government's plan to again cut the value of teacher pay.  As NFER notes, the improvements to some teacher supply measures due to the pandemic was short term and the more attractive pay levels outside of teaching represent a serious threat to teacher supply 

"NFER is right to highlight the importance of pay in relation to teacher supply.  The Government's plan to increase pay for most teachers by just 3%, when RPI inflation is 11.7%, means another huge real-terms cut to teacher pay to add to the losses of around a fifth since 2010.  With private sector pay already increasing by 8%, the Government's plan would result in further damage to the value of teacher pay relative to earnings in the wider economy and the graduate labour market.  This double whammy of pay cuts against both inflation and earnings will intensify the already critical teacher supply problems.   

"Any differential pay increases will cause further damage - lower pay increases for experienced teachers will cause fury and result in a worsening of the already serious retention problem.  We need to not only recruit more teachers by improving starting pay, but also to provide pay progression to pay levels sufficient to properly value teachers throughout their careers. 

"Solving the critical teacher supply problems is in the interests of young people and their parents, as well as of educators.  It is not possible to repair teacher pay, value them properly and effectively support teacher supply within the current inadequate funding envelope.   

"Instead of pay cuts against inflation and wider earnings, and differential pay increases which further fragment teacher pay and create further supply problems, we need urgent action from the Government to protect the living standards of teachers and other educators.  The Government can afford, and the country needs, fully funded and inflation-plus cost of living increases across all pay scales as well as action to tackle excessive workload.  This is what is needed to send a clear and unambiguous signal that all teachers and other educators will be valued, so that we can protect education in the interests of young people and parents as well as of educators themselves." 



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