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No attraction for mature entrants

In her article (TES, November 7), Margaret Hodge MP, chairman of the House of Commons education and employment select committee, said "mature late entrants into teaching currently go through training, but cannot find jobs, because they are more expensive for schools to employ". How unfortunate that the lady whose report is entitled "Teacher recruitment: what can be done?" has such a fundamental misunderstanding of the facts.

A good honours graduate is entitled to two points on entering the profession and attracts one experience point for each of seven years of satisfactory teaching, rising to a salary of Pounds 21,591. A mature graduate entering teaching seven years after taking a degree has no entitlement to these experience points and is entitled only to the two points for qualifications: a salary of Pounds 14,463. My sums suggest that a mature late entrant is therefore cheaper than a mature serving teacher, by Pounds 7,128.

The School Teachers' Pay and Conditions Document 1997 does allow one point to be awarded at governors' discretion for each year of non-teaching experience considered to be of "value to the performance of the classroom teacher's duties", but any entitlement to that would depend on the individual school's salary policy.

At a time when the select committee and the Teacher Training Agency recognise the desirability of attracting mature entrants into teaching, it is staggering that they have so far published no proposals for encouraging schools to at least match the salaries of mature entrants to that of serving teachers as regards experience points.

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