The Big Question: Is more money the best way to attract the best teachers?

The Big Question: Is more money the best way to attract the best teachers?

An allowance of £10,000 will be given to teachers by the Government in a bid to persuade the best teachers to work in challenging schools.

In addition to this, they will also be eligible for extra training to support them through the transition. The new Masters in Teaching and Learning (MTL) qualification and career support will also be offered to suitable candidates.

Challenging schools are deemed to be those where less than 30% of pupils achieve five grade A-C GCSEs and where 30% or more of pupils are entitled to free school meals.

Recent research from the training and development agency shows that inspirational teachers can have a positive effect on the self-esteem and job prospects for poorer students.

Getting the very best teachers in schools where they can do the most good is critical, says Graham Holley, chief executive of the Training and Development Agency.

Is money the best way to attract the best teachers? What effect will this have on teachers already teaching in challenging schools but who are not part of the scheme?

Here are some views from the education community:

“This feels like deja vous! Didn’t we once get social priority area allowances for working in challenging schools? I distinctly remember many years ago helping out in a school classed as being in a social priority area. The teachers definitely got more money because of that. It’s like most things in education - it’s the reinventing of the wheel. I have just left a school in an area of social deprivation, and yes, it is very challenging. However, there are many other different challenges in other types of areas. A colleague who moved into independent education later left because of the pressures! She much preferred teaching the ‘challenging children’ to the more privileged ones!

“Would the money attract the right sort of candidates? Not necessarily! I know many teachers who claim at interview to have taught very challenging children, who have later proved unable to manage them!

“Schools in tough areas need not be ‘hell holes’ if the management is able to create a positive learning ethos and good behaviour management.”
Jacqui Singh, secondary school teacher


“There have been recruitment and retention points offered to staff in challenging schools for a number of years, and it doesn’t retain teachers who realise they don’t want to work in such an environment. They may not stay in the school that rewards them financially, let alone stay in the profession. Diplomas and MAs have always been offered to staff who are keen to continue professional development in this way as a matter of course, so these new incentives are not so new after all.

“If you are doing the job well that you are being paid to do, the system should be rewarding all of these unsung heroes not just the ones whose heads may be turned by financial gain. Rather than another patronising pat on the head, the Government should be sensibly restructuring an outdated salary scale and paying all good teachers a decent wage.”
Kate Muscroft, ex-primary teacher/senco


“It is bizarre to offer these allowances to newly qualified teachers who often find it hard to cope in an average school let alone a challenging one. To understand some of the problems of the students who attend challenging schools, teachers need a certain level of emotional maturity, life experience and excellent communication skills on top of being a brilliant teacher. How many NQTs would have that?”
Lana Moorcroft, secondary school teacher

Please share your views below.