Short-sighted salaries

7th April 2000 at 01:00
AS two poverty-stricken and exhausted primary PGCE students, we are more than a little distressed to learn about the new "salaries" for future trainee teachers.

First, we feel that this proposal is extremely short-sighted. It will attract undergraduates who will take the nine-month course to buy some time while deciding what they want to do with their future. Also, they can pay off some of their debts while enjoying the student life for a while longer. In the long-term most will be able to get higher paid and less stressful jobs elsewhere. This will do more harm to the already bruised and battered reputation of the profession.

We recognise that there is a problem, but at least the Government should be safe in the knowledge that current trainees are dedicated to teaching, since they are enduring financial hardship in order to complete their training.

One wy of attracting "genuine" trainees would be to pay off pound;6,000 of their student loans at the end of the newly-qualified teacher year. This would benefit both current trainees (on both BEd and PGCE courses) and NQTs, and would enable future trainees to prove their interest and talent for teaching.

Second, instead of introducing performance-related pay, the Government needs to increase salaries from the bottom upwards in line with other professions.

This would definitely make undergraduates see teaching as a higher-status profession, and therefore the high-calibre students that ministers are looking for would consider it a worthwhile and rewarding career.

The Secondary Shortage Subject Scheme did not work, so why does the Government think that "salaries" will work?

Helen Bonehill and Claire


Homerton College


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