Five comparisons between UK schools and other nations

OECD report shows teachers in the UK are the youngest in the developed world

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Male teachers earn less on average than male graduates in other professions – but women teachers earn about the same as their counterparts in other jobs, a new report out today reveals.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Education at a Glance 2018 report also shows that in England, a male primary teacher’s salary will be 71 per cent of that of the average for male graduates – compared to an OECD average of 77 per cent.

And a female primary teacher in England will earn 94 per cent of what a female graduate would earn on average – compared to an OECD average of 102 per cent.

At secondary level, male teachers in England earn 81 per cent of the average male graduate salary – the same as the OECD average, while women teachers earn 107 per cent, slightly below the 108 per cent average across the OECD.

“These differences in relative salaries for men and women are likely to make the teaching profession more appealing to women, especially at the lower levels of education,” the report states and adds that it is worth aiming for a better gender balance.

The report also shows that the wage gap between secondary heads and teachers is larger in England than in any other developed country, and in primary schools, the gap is the second largest after Italy.

Wages on average have dropped by 10 per cent in England over the past 12 years.

Here are five other findings:

  1. The teaching workforce in the UK is the youngest in the developed world. In the UK, 31 per cent of primary teachers were under 30 in 2016, compared to an OECD average of 12 per cent. And across primary and secondary, 26 per cent of UK teachers were under 30 compared to 11 per cent in the OECD on average.
  2. Schools in England have high levels of autonomy, with around two-thirds of decisions taken at school level. This is the third highest among OECD countries after the Czech Republic and the Netherlands – on average 34 per cent of decisions are taken at school level. The OECD does not distinguish in the UK figures between a decision made at school level, or at multi-academy trust level.
  3. Twice as many degree holders in England are working in jobs which they are overqualified for (28 per cent) than average (14 per cent) across OECD countries.
  4. Enrolment in early childhood education in the UK is universal from the age of 3, but for children under the age of three, just 22 per cent of children from poorer households take part in some form of early education, compared to 48 per cent of those from the richest.
  5. The UK is one of three countries (along with Japan and Turkey) where more than 40 per cent of expenditure on pre-primary education comes from private sources rather than the state.

This year's report also has a focus on equity in education. It shows that inequities start early and tend to accumulate throughout life.

“A lot has already been achieved in bridging some of the opportunity gaps our children face, but this edition of Education at a Glance reminds us that the path to achieving equity in education remains strewn with obstacles," OECD secretary-general Angel Gurria writes in the report.

"We have the responsibility to ensure that personal or social circumstances do not impede students from realising their potential. This should be education’s promise to all.”

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