Pay rises should go to classroom teachers rather than heads and academy chief executives, the Liberal Democrats' new education spokesperson has said.
Layla Moran, a former maths and physics teacher who holds a Master’s degree in comparative education, took on the role last month after her election as MP for Oxford West and Abingdon.
Speaking to Tes in her first major interview since her appointment, she said that the government should intervene to prevent excessive pay among academy trust leaders.
She said that, while academies needed to attract the best people for the job, “they are public servants in the end and I worry that some of the pay levels we have been seeing are more akin to the private sector when at the same time teachers are facing a 1 per cent pay cap across the rest of the sector.
Sending out the wrong message
“I think that is completely wrong in terms of the message it sends out to the rest of the teaching profession. Actually, if there was extra money I think it should be going to the teachers rather than the heads.”
She was speaking after Lord Adonis, an architect of the academies programme, called for ministers to curb excessive pay of multi-academy trust CEOs.
Ms Moran also said she was “deeply concerned” that the reformed GCSEs focus “far too much on content, and nowhere near enough on the other very important skills – some call them softer skills, but they are not softer skills”.
She added: “Being curious in science and maths is itself a skill and allowing space in an exam for a student to be able to show that is I think crucially important”.
She joins the small band of teachers-turned-politicians in the Commons, who she believes bring useful classroom skills such as “explaining things well” to their colleagues.
She has already discussed with fellow physics teacher Carol Monaghan, an SNP MP, the state of numeracy in Westminster, and their role when there are issues of causality, uncertainty and how to interpret statistics.
She told Tes: “I will be approaching those sorts of conversations with colleagues as if I were talking to a teenager.
“You assume that they know nothing, but you do it with respect, and you meet them where they are in that conversation and then you bring them through what is a very complex thing.”
This is an edited article from the 14 July edition of Tes. Subscribers can read the full article here. To subscribe, click here. To download the digital edition, Android users can click here and iOS users can click here. This week's Tes magazine is available in all good newsagents