A formal complaint has been lodged with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) over the government’s new teacher recruitment advertisement, which claims that teachers can earn “up to £65,000” a year.
Martin Powell-Davies, an executive member of the NUT teaching union, has submitted a complaint to the ASA as he believes the advert, which focuses on potential earnings with its hashtag #teachersmake, is “deliberately misleading”.
In his blog, Mr Powell-Davies said that many teachers had “angrily taken to social media” in a bid to find out who these teachers were who were earning as much as £65,000 a year.
According to the union activist, the Department for Education’s own figures reveal that such a salary would be available to only a “tiny proportion” of teachers living in inner London who are at the very top of the “leading practitioners” pay range.
“The government's own figures show that only 0.6 per cent of teachers are paid on the [leading practitioners] pay range and, given that this range starts at as low as £38,598, then only a small proportion of this small proportion of teachers receives a salary anywhere near £65,000,” Mr Powell-Davies writes.
His comments come as the NUT has announced it will be lobbying the government over how schools source supply teachers, after it claimed that schools had paid £733 million to teacher supply agencies last year because of staff shortages.
In his formal submission to the ASA, Mr Powell-Davies says that, given the DfE is well aware that the proportion of teachers who can earn such a salary is “extremely small”, he believes the advert is creating a “deliberately false impression”.
Mr Powell-Davies adds: “The facts are that, after five years' hard slog, most teachers can only hope (if they've not had their pay progression blocked) to have made it to the top of the main pay range. That's £33,000 per annum or £634 per week. If you're working a 63-hour week, that's just £10 per hour. That's what most #teachersmake in reality. No wonder there's a crisis.”
Among the other responses to the DfE's advert was this take on it from a marketing perspective, including a much celebrated video by American slam poet, Taylor Mali (see above).
The claims over the salaries that teachers could potentially make sparked outrage on Twitter last night.
#teachersmake a difference.Don't enter the profession expecting to make "big bucks", that's misleading.It's hard work.Do it to change lives.— Christine Swan (@chris_swan) October 28, 2015
The DfE stood by the advert, adding that "hundreds" of teachers earned up to £65,000.
“Teachers have the potential to earn up to £65k and hundreds do – that excludes those in leadership roles who can earn more," a spokesperson said.
“Teachers play a vital role in raising standards and ensuring all pupils can reach their full potential. That is why we have given all heads much greater flexibility to set staff pay and reward their best teachers with a pay rise.”