Neost hopes super heads will halt the brain drain

10 Sep 98
The price to stop the teacher recruitment crisis was this week put at a billion pounds.

11 September 1998

Proposals unveiled on Tuesday by the National Employers' Organisation of School Teachers (Neost) would allow headteachers to earn up to £60,000 a year, with departmental heads making £50,000. An advanced skills teacher – the so-called superteacher – could earn up to £42,000. In return for improved wages, teachers would work 205 days a year rather than the current 190.

The proposals would add £1bn to the £11bn wage bill and will be presented to education minister Estelle Morris when she meets Neost members next Thursday.

Supporters of the proposals claim that no extra money would be needed, as the cash has already been earmarked by the government in its Comprehensive Spending Review.

Although the money offered to those entering the profession – £13,000-£15,000 – is seen as fair by employers, unions do not agree. They say that the starting salary is 12% below that offered by other professions. Neost also wants to improve pay and conditions for long-standing teachers to persuade them to remain in the profession.

Attracting more teachers is crucial if the government is to fulfil its election pledge of reducing class sizes. The National Union of Teachers said recruitment for 1997/98 is 10% below the target needed for primary and secondary school teachers. Technology and maths both have huge problems in recruiting new staff. This year both subjects are more than 35% down on their recruitment targets. Teacher training courses have also failed to meet their targets.

Neost is also advocating radical changes to the teachers' pay review body.

Options include unions and employers meeting face to face; appointing an independent member to arbitrate if no agreement is reached; and a pay review body employers sit on, rather than just give evidence.


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