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School leaders call for more government honesty over teachers' pay

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There should be more honesty about how much teachers can expect to earn if they join the profession, school leaders have said.

Recent government advertising saying that good candidates can be earning high salaries within a few years has been "misleading", according to the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL).

Very few teachers will be earning around £55,000 after teaching for four years, the assocation said at its annual conference in Birmingham.

Malcolm Trobe. interim general secretary of ASCL, said: "We want people to come into teaching because they want to teach. Most teachers don't come into teaching for the pay, but we do want a reasonable salary level.

"The other thing we would not want to happen is for people to be misled. And being quite frank, some of the publicity that has been put out previously about salaries has actually been misleading about saying teachers can get a salary of £55,000 after being in teaching for four years.

Well, the number of people who are going to reach anywhere near that level after four years, unless you are getting real accelerated promotion, probably in London, are very few. There needs to be an honesty about what is going into the adverts to recruit people."

Earlier this week, Ofsted chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw suggested that school leaders' pay should be publicised to help attract good candidates into teaching.

Would-be teachers should know that they can be in senior positions, earning high salaries, within a few years of entering the classroom, he told the Commons Education Select Committee.

ASCL president Allan Foulds said: "I think Sir Michael made some interesting points about progression and the fact that if you move through to a leadership position and a relatively accelerated but proper rate, then you may well end up being fairly well remunerated, and I don't think there's any harm in that message. Why not?"

He added that there was a difficulty with the starting salaries of teachers compared with the starting wages of those of their peers who are similarly qualified and joining different professions.

Mr Trobe stressed that "one of the biggest issues" for school leaders is recruiting teachers in the coastal regons. "There are areas there where we need high-quality teachers to be going into those schools and they are not earning the salaries that you would get in London," he said.

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

"Teaching is a hugely rewarding career with the chance to change lives on a daily basis and it is this that attracts many people to the profession. However it is important that teachers are fairly paid for their work and we have given schools unprecedented freedom over pay to reward their best staff.

"This means outstanding individuals can be rewarded for their work and many are. For example, the ASA recently ruled that it is right to say teachers can earn up to £65,000."

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