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England's teachers get developed world’s second biggest pay cut

Only teachers in crisis-hit Greece have taken bigger hit than in England, where teacher pay fell 10 per cent between 2005-2017, OECD reports

Scotland's new FE minister comes into the job with strikes possible

Only teachers in crisis-hit Greece have taken bigger hit than in England, where teacher pay fell 10 per cent between 2005-2017, OECD reports

Teachers in England have taken the second biggest pay cut in the developed world, new figures suggest.

The new figures from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) cover the period between 2005-2017 for teachers with 15 years experience and typical qualifications.

Those in England have been a hit by a 10 per cent pay cut, with only teachers in crisis-hit Greece having to endure a bigger loss, today's Education at a Glance report shows.

Unlike England and Greece, most countries have seen teacher pay change differently by sector. On average, across the 28 OECD countries and economies with comparable data, primary teacher pay rose by 8 per cent, lower secondary by 7 per cent and upper secondary by 5 per cent.

“Burgeoning national debt, spurred by governments’ responses to the financial crisis of late 2008, has put pressure on policymakers to reduce government expenditure, particularly on public payrolls," the report states. 

"Since compensation and working conditions are important for attracting, developing and retaining skilled and high-quality teachers and school heads, it is important for policy makers to carefully consider their salaries and career prospects as they try to ensure both quality teaching and sustainable education budgets."

The highest rises in the past 12 years went to teachers in Poland, Hungary, Israel, Luxembourg, Norway and Sweden where pay increased by more than 20 per cent on average during this time.

But in Denmark, France, Italy, Japan, Portugal, Scotland, Spain, England and Greece salaries have fallen – with the 10 per cent decrease in England topped only by a fall of 28 per cent in Greece. Salaries in Scotland fell by about 5 per cent.

The statistics also show that starting salaries are comparatively low for teachers in England, but then progress more rapidly than in other countries – meaning that after 15 years’ of experience, teachers are paid above the OECD average.

But then salary progression slows down, so that teachers at the top of their salary scale in England have a lower wage than the average for all OECD countries.

While teachers’ salaries may be low, headteachers in England have the second highest average wages in the developed world.

The government announced in July that teachers on the main pay scale in England will get a 3.5 per cent pay rise this year, while those on the upper ranges will get 2 per cent and leaders will receive 1.5 per cent. But with inflation at 2.4 per cent, the Institute of Fiscal Studies pointed out this would mean a real-terms pay cut for 60 per cent of teachers.

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