Why trainee 'salaries' are not salaries at all

30th March 2001 at 01:00
WHAT is the difference between the training "salary" for teachers in England and the training "grant" in Wales? Not a lot, claims the Department for Education and Employment. "They are one and the same," said a spokesman.

But the Welsh Assembly, a recruitment analyst, an employment specialist and the Advertising Standards Authority take a different view.

If the pound;6,000 paid to students on postgraduate certificate in education courses is actually a salary, it is less than the legal minimum wage. It works out to pound;157.89 a week, or pound;3.95 an hour - 5p less than the revised national minimum.

Being paid a salary implies that you are entitled to paid holiday - now a minimum four weeks plus bank holidays, maternity leave, sick pay and a pension. You may also be eligible for working families' tax credt.

A year ago the English payments were called training grants but there appears to have been a shift. The phrase "training salaries" features in Building on Success, the latest education Green Paper, and was used five times by education minister Tessa Blackstone in a recent Lords debate. The phrase also peppers Teacher Training Agency literature.

A spokeswoman for the Welsh Assembly insisted: "These are not salaries. They are incentives, grants."

The word "salary", according to Advertising Standards Authority, refers to monthly payments for employment.

Recruitment analyst John Howson said: "It's worrying if the DFEE with its emphasis on employment does not understand the implications of this. I am concerned that it (the term 'salary' ) might mislead people."

Clare Dean


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