Government advisor Alan Milburn has suggested that the best teachers should be rewarded for working in disadvantaged areas and schools. His plan? Getting 2,000 of the best teachers in England and offering a 25 per cent pay rise if they teach in a challenging school.
Mr Milburn believes this will entice teachers to want to make the move to teach in a more challenging classroom. The government’s advisor has also suggested the creation of a ‘fast stream’ plan for teachers. This would allow “good” teachers to be promoted rapidly through the system, but only if they spend a certain amount of time teaching in disadvantaged areas.
The main question being left unanswered is who is going to decide who is a “good” teacher? What is this rating going to be based upon? Will Milburn look to avoid all responsibility like other parties, placing the decision on someone else’s shoulders?
If teachers are selected by school performance then other factors must be taken into consideration, comparison in school budgets and facilities for each school is crucial. If a teacher is being brought in from a well facilitated school located in a wealthy area, how can Mr Milburn decide that this teacher will be better than one currently at the school who has experience in a challenging environment?
A survey recently carried out by the Guardian states that teachers go into the profession for the opportunity to work with young people and make a difference. Salary was not in the top ten for answers given, so is Alan Milburn’s incentive wasted on teaching? This comes after teaching unions have responded angrily at the teaching workload and lack of effort by the government to reduce this. Alan Milburn also needs to state where this additional budget is going to come from to be able to afford this 25% increase for certain teachers. This talk of pay rises comes during a time where schools are facing more budget cuts due to the increasing amount pupils entering the British education system.
Alan Milburn’s idea is an attempt to give every child an equal opportunity in education; however with school budgets so stretched currently schools cannot afford to pay such increases out of their own budgets. Surely wouldn’t the money that would be used be better off increasing school budgets and teacher training programmes?