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Pay rise insult

WHAT a difference a few days make. The arrival of a new chief inspector (page 10) and Tony Blair's unprecedented praise for teachers seemed to signal a new attitude in Whitehall towards the profession.

Unfortunately, when it comes to the Government's treatment of teachers, every silver lining seems to have a cloud. Ministers' decision to recommend a pay rise of just 3 per cent for the profession (page 1) is a disgrace.

Teachers everywhere have earned a decent productivity rise, showing every sign of meeing David Blunkett's targets for him while reducing unsatisfactory lessons from 30 per cent to just 6. But the recommendation is not only an insult to teachers, it is also bad policy. England's shortage of teachers ranks among the worst in the world (page 12).

Today's graduates are not stupid. They can see how much ministers value teachers by what they are prepared to pay them. If Tony Blair is serious about recruiting 250,000 new teachers he needs to put the Government's money where his mouth is.

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