A recent television advert to get more people into teaching has recently sparked controversy after receiving 140 complaints, according to the advertising watchdog. The television advert for the Get Into Teaching campaign; Your Future: Their Future, recently suggested that teachers in England could earn up to £65,000, however teachers and unions have been quick to claim that this figure is exaggerated and misleading.
Last week, Ofsted chief Sir Michael Wilshaw warned headteachers that teacher shortages should be a ‘burning issue’ for schools and the government. In response to Sir Michael’s comments a TV advertising campaign was launched by the government to encourage people to join the teaching profession. Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said how she felt the advertising campaign would play a key role in attracting a new generation of passionate and gifted teachers. The Education Secretary continued to say “Great teachers are at the heart of our drive to extend opportunity to every single child. That is why we are focused on attracting more talented people into the profession, to inspire young people, open doors to their future and help prepare them for life in modern Britain.”
However, when first aired, the £3m campaign had the wrong effect generating 140 complaints and leading the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) to investigate whether the Department for Education had breached its guidelines. During the advert a male teacher says “And if you’re wondering what else a good teacher makes, it’s probably more than you think”, with on-screen text then stating ‘£22k to 27k minimum starting salary… and up to £65k as a great teacher.’
After receiving the complaints the DfE referred to published statistics that in November 2014 there were 12,845 teachers earning £65,000 or more. Of the 12,845 who earnt this salary, 12,360 were in leadership positions leaving 485 working as classroom teachers.
The ASA noted the advert depicted a number of teachers conducting lessons but it did not consider that viewers would infer the salary information represented a pay scale for classroom teachers and found that the advert did not misrepresent teachers’ potential salaries.
After hearing the ASA’s findings, Kevin Courtney, the National Union of Teachers (NUT) Deputy General Secretary, said he found the decision “quite surprising” as he thought the advert was ‘ridiculous’ and believed that teachers had the right to complain and ridicule. “Teachers currently face five more years of 1% headline-pay rises and huge uncertainty because of the chaotic implementation of performance related pay, it is obviously ridiculous for the DfE to give the impression that this is a likely salary.”
But what do you think? Are the government wrong to imply that class teachers can reach this salary? Sir Michael Wilshaw last week stated how impressive teacher salaries should be shouted about to attract more talent to the profession, and the government have responded, only to have their advert attacked by unions. Mr Courtney further stated “when only one in a thousand classroom teachers earn £65,000, it is obviously ridiculous for the DfE to give the impression that this is a likely salary” however if there are 485 classroom teachers on this salary and thousands of teachers in leadership positions… why shouldn’t the government show off the potential teacher salaries? Surely attracting more ambitious career hungry professionals is good for the profession? Have your say…