From the archive 19 - British teachers are among poorest in Europe

18th March 2011 at 00:00
14 October 1977: Research shows starting salaries are half those of Luxembourg, Germany and Sweden

British teachers are nearly the poorest paid in Europe. All the Common Market countries pay their most highly paid qualified teachers more than we do.

The stark truth about British teachers' pay is revealed this week by the influential West German Institute of Educational Research.

The research shows that primary teachers in Denmark earn more than twice the British salary when they start work; teachers in Eire get 20 per cent more; Luxembourg graduate staff can earn up to three times as much; and British good honours graduates are worse off than anyone else.

The institute financed the research because of fears that the free flow of workers between Common Market countries was being hindered by salary differences. The West Germans were concerned about the EEC principle that interchange was a consequence of Common Market membership.

The research converted 10 national pay rates into Deutschmarks and found that primary teachers in Denmark started on 2,435DM a month, compared with 1,050DM per month in England and Wales.

Swedish, German and Luxembourg primary staff all start at twice the salary of English and Welsh teachers. Teachers in Eire receive about 20 per cent more.

At the top end of the salary scales, primary teachers in Luxembourg get 3,334DM per month while English teachers receive 1,380DM.

Graduate secondary teachers in Luxembourg start at 2,533DM a month and finish at 4,337DM. English and Welsh staff start on 1,156DM and end on 1,698DM a month. British good honours graduates are paid less than any European teacher including the Italians.

Mr Bernard Wakefield, NASUWT assistant general secretary, said the research results were a "shocking lesson".

"This is a dramatic condemnation of the way we are viewed by the British people. If people criticise our education service it could be flung back at them that they get what they pay for."

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