Welsh feel hard done by

12th December 2003 at 00:00
They may live in a world free of league tables and tests for seven-year-olds but 13 per cent of teachers in Wales are dissatisfied with their jobs, compared with 5 per cent in England.

The Mori poll also found a big difference in opinion about pay, even though salary scales are the same both sides of the border.

Fewer Welsh teachers believe they are paid fairly. Their net approval rating (percentage agreeing pay is fair minus the percentage disagreeing) of minus 26 percentage points compared with minus 3 points in England.

So are the Welsh just living up to the stereotype of a nation of whingers or are other factors at work? Geraint Davies, secretary of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers Cymru, believes the difference stems from the fact that the Welsh demand more of teachers.

"Over the centuries it has been bred into us that education is a stepping stone for people to improve themselves in life," he said.

"That leads to greater expectation from parents, the media and society as a whole. Teachers are happy to take that on but they don't feel their salaries are matching up to it."

Iwan Guy, Welsh executive member of the National Association of Head Teachers, believes Welsh teachers are unhappy because measures to reduce workload have been less well funded than in England and there are fewer support staff. "We have larger class sizes in Wales but there are some primary schools without any support assistants at all and without clerical support," he said.

Jane Davidson, Welsh education minister, said teachers' pay and conditions were the responsibility of the Department for Education and Skills not the Welsh Assembly. But it took support for teachers very seriously.

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