Mo’ money, mo’ problems

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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?

4 thoughts on “Mo’ money, mo’ problems

  1. No mr Milburn, it will not work !
    I have worked in a disadvantaged school for ten years. I was devoted to my school and pupils. I was ‘good’ …. But then the school went into special measures , because know it all ofsted said our pupils were not progressing fast enough , hummmmm, oh yes and that the judgements of our teaching were not valid anymore because they had been done by someone who had failed to meet standards themselves . So, let’s recap, that person had the power to decide who was ‘ good’ or better , but then, were the judgements unreliable ? How would that have affected us as a staff ?
    School staff need to work as a team to be good , that’s the first rule, would these flimsy judgements create rifts in the teams ?
    I would like to be recognised and respected for my hard work, not bought .

  2. On the surface it seems sensible as tough schools find it harder to recruit and maybe a financial incentive would entice some teachers. I agree with Marie though, where would this extra money come from and who would judge if teachers were ‘good’? Not all ‘good’ teachers are suited to schools with challenging behaviour. I know people who have a real passion for their subject and inspire year after year of pupils, but would not be able to cope with behaviours displayed by some challenging children. Schools are no more one size fits all than are companies or Whitehall departments.

  3. Having worked in schools in the most challenging social areas as well as predominantly middle class ones, I found the latter most difficult. I always felt that it would be a good idea that in order to make pay progression across threshold, teachers should be required to complete a couple of years secondment in a school in a completely different social catchment. The grass always looks greener on the other side, but my experience is that all schools have their challenges and that the common factor of difficulty for teachers is where there is poor leadership in place.

  4. All schools have difficulties with behavior as it is the normal according to society. However, I have worked with some particularly challenging violent students, that I have turned around with consistency. I got paid 55 a day before tax whilst teachers earn much more. How about that learning support assistants/teaching assistants who seem to be on the lowest pay scale but do all the hard 1.1 support of well being, attendance, and learning to progress…….

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