Pay gap with schools does exist

27th July 2001 at 01:00
By saying there is now "no significant difference" between the average levels of pay for lecturers and schoolteachers" ("No leg to stand on over pay gap claims", FE Focus, July 6) the Association of Colleges exposes its ignorance of what Dickens demonstrated with such clarity in Hard Times: that the truth of a situation is not to be found in averages but only in individual instances.

I was recently on an interview panel for a full-time lecturer appointment. From the small number of applications we received, we found two suitable candidates. The first was a schoolteacher with three years' experience. However, his salary would have been pound;2,000 per year less than he was earning in school. He turned the job down. The second candidate had just finished her probationary year as a newly-qualified teacher. She would have earned pound;1,000 per year less. She too turned the job down.

Figures of average pay are not the point. Specific instances show that the difference in pay between schoolteachers and lecturers diminishes the power of colleges to recruit staff. This is unfair and should be redressed.

Hugh Epstein Programme manager, English A-levels, Richmond upon Thames College, Egerton Road, Twickenham

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