Women to spend life in the red

14th March 2003 at 00:00
ASPIRING teacher Helena Smith expects to graduate from the University of East London with nearly pound;16,000 of student debt.

The 38-year-old single mother may eventually pay it off, when she starts teaching in two years' time. But it seems future women teachers, starting university in 2006 when student fees could rise to pound;3,000 a year, may never get back in the black.

Research carried out for the Liberal Democrats shows debt will hit female recruitment to all the public services, including teaching. Women, with the exception of those in secondary shortage subjects, for whom the Government is repaying student debt, could owe still pound;20,000, 28 years after graduating.

Mrs Smith is already trying to move from primary into secondary English teaching, to benefit from the shortage subject initiative.

The former mortgage manager said: "I have always wanted to be a teacher, but that amount of debt would have made me think twice now about going for a degree and teacher training."

The Lib Dems estimate that students starting in 2006 will graduate with pound;21,000 of debt. Men will be in the black by the age of 44. But women, who start on lower salaries and earn less, will never keep up with the interest on the debt.

Phil Willis, the party's education spokesman, said: "Even with the salaries teachers now earn, the majority of women primary teachers will never pay off their loans."

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now