Break-up of national pay system could lead to recruitment auction


The break-up of the national pay system for teachers which comes into effect at the beginning of September could lead to a recruitment auction in education with teachers opting to work for the highest bidder.

The warning, from education recruitment specialist TLTP Education (The London Teaching Pool), follows the announcement by one of the country’s biggest academy chains that it is to offer all its teachers a 1.5 per cent pay rise.

United Learning, which runs 25 academies around England, will also pay all new recruits on the teaching starting salary five per cent more than they would receive under the current teachers’ salary scale.

“This September could represent something of a sea change in teacher recruitment,” said Darryl Mydat, managing director of TLTP Education. “Whilst governing bodies of state schools are currently revising their pay and appraisal policies in time for September, academy groups can in effect pull the rug from underneath them now by offering the most attractive packages available to teachers.”

Mydat warns that there is a significant risk, at a time when the system is already short of strong teaching candidates, that the combined effect of the abolition of pay scales and the move by United Learning and potentially other academy groups could make it even harder for many state schools to compete effectively in the job market.

He warns that, at a time when school budgets remain under pressure, some schools may decide to save money by not investing in teacher pay progression. This, adds Mydat, could drive the best teachers away and make recruitment of new staff very difficult.

Mydat added: “The Department for Education will say that all schools, not only academies, are free to decide their teachers’ pay and that they expect them to recruit and retain the best teachers. In practice they are simply not going to be able to do that.

"We can foresee a situation where good teachers simply turn their backs on state schools that are less able to afford them. It defeats the objective of rewarding good performance if the school in question is not going to be in a position to match what the school down the road can offer.”

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