Cut teacher\’s pay now!

Primary school teachers in England are among the youngest in the world but they still earn almost £4,000 more on average than their counterparts across the rest of the OECD.

The average salary for a primary teacher in the OECD countries was £24,690 in 2011, compared to £28,660 in England.

The report found England\’s primary teachers delivered 684 hours of lessons in 2011, significantly below the OECD average of 786 hours.

In Chile, teachers spent 1,120 hours in front of their classes, while teachers in the United States clocked up 1,097 hours of teaching time in 2011.


They\’re getting
more pay for fewer hours…..and I seriously doubt that anyone thinks that the education system is better. Clearly we should cut pay so as to be average.

For isn\’t that what we\’re repeatedly told? That we should indeed be like other places in our pay and equality and so on and on?

45 comments on “Cut teacher\’s pay now!

  1. I think I’d like to see total hours worked, not just hours in the class. Might change things, might not, but that’s what you need to look at.

  2. Eddy

    I think I’d like to see total hours worked, not just hours in the class. Might change things, might not, but that’s what you need to look at.

    What do you think teachers are doing outside the classroom? Sure they budget themselves endless hours of “preparation”, and perhaps some of them need it, but mostly I am inclined to think not.

    All this proves is that academic performance may be linked to hours in the classroom, but it is not linked to teachers’ pay. I would be interested to the see proportion of teachers who are female. As I suspect that is strongly linked to a lack of academic performance in their pupils. Especially given it can be shown female teachers discriminate against boys.

  3. Apostrophe, Tim…

    SMFS – what, all women teachers discriminate against boys? That’s a fairly outrageous slander.

  4. It gets confusing because of knowing which exchange rate is used and which year’s salary but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the average UK wage was 15-20% ahead of OECD average. So hardly surprising if teachers also get paid 20% more.

    Hours worked seems more shocking. However you’d have to determone how much time is spent out of the classroom marking homework or preparing course work/science experiments etc.

  5. Dumb question maybe.

    But is that wage figure what they actually get paid, or is it their per annum salary before the 12 weeks holidays are knocked off?

  6. “For isn’t that what we’re repeatedly told? That we should indeed be like other places in our pay and equality and so on and on?”

    By whom are we so told? And what places exactly? That our inequality should be like the US or Chile? That our wages should be like Turkey or Mexico? (All OECD countries.) I don’t think you’re even attacking a straw man. The figure for teaching hours point might be significant, the rest is not even bollocks.

    Re Shinsei’s point, yes, you’re right, though I am a bit wary of these figures – “disposable income”?

    http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/sites/soc_glance-2011-en/04/01/g4_ge1-01.html?itemId=/content/chapter/soc_glance-2011-6-en

  7. @MJ:

    I must have checked that post a thousand times to make sure I didn’t fall foul of Muphry’s Law. Probably still failed.

  8. > Shinsei1967

    Yep , when comparing wages across countries the exchange rate taken from the FOREX not apropriate. The cost of living in each country needs to be taken into account. The phrase often heard on the BBC such as “working for a dollar a day” does not tell you anything if the price of a loaf bread there is 2 pence.
    Simmilarly we often hear that east europeans are more keen to work on jobs that are paying low in Britain than the people resident in Britain. But if they are spending those wages where the cost of living is lower, then the effect is they are earning for the same work, more than the British counterpart.

  9. Oxonymous – “what, all women teachers discriminate against boys? That’s a fairly outrageous slander.”

    I don’t know about all, but on average it seems so. And the boys know it too:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/02/16/female-teachers-give-male_n_1281236.html

    Conducted by professors Amine Ouazad and Lionel Page, for the London School of Economic’s Centre for Economic Performance, the report said:

    “Male students tend to bet less [money] when assessed by a female teacher than by an external examiner or by a male teacher. This is consistent with female teachers’ grading practices; female teachers give lower grades to male students.

    “Female students bet more when assessed by a male teacher than when assessed by an external examiner or a female teacher. Female students’ behavior is not consistent with male teachers’ grading practices, since male teachers tend to reward male students more than female students.”

    I like the experiment as it is rather elegant. I think the original is here:

    cee.lse.ac.uk/ceedps/ceedp133.pdf?

    Shinsei1967 – “Hours worked seems more shocking. However you’d have to determone how much time is spent out of the classroom marking homework or preparing course work/science experiments etc.”

    Primary school children. Remember they are primary school children. How much preparation do you need to know that 3 X 3 = 9 or that the Cat sat on the Hat? Marking homework? When did you last see a primary school child with marked homework – genuine homework that needs actual marking (as opposed to a quick glance)?

    But even if all that was true, why does Chilean homework need so much less marking and Chilean classes so much less preparation?

    ukliberty – “Anyone who knows teachers will be aware of the time they spend on prep and marking.”

    Indeed. We are in complete agreement.

  10. @ ukliberty

    We’re talking about primary school teachers here. Is there *really* all that much prep and marking? It’s not as if there’s anything complex going on. Plus, the working day itself is much shorter than the average.. before the holidays are taken into account.

    £28k sounds like a cracking wage. Take holidays and pension into account and it’s easily comparable with non-management levels in various other ‘professions’ (you’ve got to get a fair way up the career ladder in accountancy to match that package)

    In principle, I don’t see anything wrong with teachers being very well paid.. I just think it’s a shame they moan about what a rough deal they get. This probably puts of a lot of people, meaning that the quality of people going into the job is compromised. I know that the people at my school who were pursuing teaching careers were the C-students (probably inflated to A/B students by now). Those wanting to do primary were the lesser able of the group.

  11. It’s possible SMFS only knows shit teachers because they’re the only ones willing to hang out with it.

    The Thought Gang, I don’t know what an appropriate wage is for teachers, I merely make the point that the time spent in the classroom isn’t the only time they work. Re how much time is worked outside the classroom, in the case of primary teachers, I wouldn’t know but I imagine it’s more than zero.

  12. “When did you last see a primary school child with marked homework – genuine homework that needs actual marking (as opposed to a quick glance)?”

    At an open day at a local private school.

  13. ukliberty

    It’s possible SMFS only knows shit teachers because they’re the only ones willing to hang out with it.

    It is possible. Or alternative I am just right. Not quite sure what Occam’s razor would suggest but given Britain’s pathetic showing in educational results, I am inclined to think I am right.

    how much time is worked outside the classroom, in the case of primary teachers, I wouldn’t know but I imagine it’s more than zero.

    You don’t know and you csan only imagine and yet you still feel that you have something to contribute and are a fit person to correct me? How interesting.

    dearieme

    At an open day at a local private school.

    Yeah. Who would have guessed?

    Do you remember what it was?

  14. @ ukliberty

    “I wouldn’t know but I imagine it’s more than zero.”

    I’m sure it is. But remember that classroom time doesn’t take up a full day. If, say, teaching takes up 6 hours of a 7.5 hour day then they’ve got a 25% ‘markup’ to cover other duties prior to eating into personal time. In fairness to them, I suspect that onerous form-filling and pointless meetings fills up most of that, long before anyone’s considered how they might teach some 6-year-olds how to do something useful.

    I think the thing that bugs non-teachers about the demand for sympathy and credit for the out-of-hours work that teachers do is that almost everyone in a ‘profession’ is expected to do the same. So it’s not so much that they don’t do it, it’s that they’re not special.. and whatever they do doesn’t offset the generous holidays, pensions, and job security. And, it seems, a pretty good base salary.

    Having Micheal Gove as a boss, however, probably does.

  15. ukliberty – “Anyone who knows teachers will be aware of the time they spend on prep and marking.”

    Maybe at secondary level. But I don’t think that holds true of primary. Chum of mine worked at primary in the state sector for five years before going over to the private sector and used to have to pick his wife up at the end of her working day. He said that the reason his colleagues moaned about having to mark in the evenings at home was that they pissed off sharpish at the end of the school day. He worked to the end of the normal working day (and often not even that) and was all sorted.

    Same chap almost gave up at the first hurdle though. He said half the people on the PGCE course couldn’t spell or punctuate properly and he almost left in disgust.

  16. My guess is that inexperienced teachers put in a lot of preparation time, and some of them moan about it. Experienced teachers do rather less, and keep shtum.

  17. The Thought Gang,

    Form-filling and pointless meetings is still ‘work’ isn’t it? They have to do it or else?

    Fair point about what non-teachers think but in all such debates neither ‘side’ really knows about the other unless they’ve done both kinds of work.

    As for Michael Gove, they should get double pay while he’s in charge.

  18. SMFS,

    You don’t know and you csan only imagine and yet you still feel that you have something to contribute and are a fit person to correct me?

    Oh heavens, how dare I think myself “fit” to “correct” some twunt on the internet.

  19. I once had a girl, or should I say, she once had me, who had been a teacher for a bit, and she told me that the burden of preparation required these days (which was, crikey, ten years ago) is quite considerable; you have to write lesson plans and so forth, which is bureaucratic bullshit, but apparently there’s quite a lot of it.

  20. There’s no doubt some teachers have it pretty rough; they have a higher-than-average level for alcohol dependency and are likely to die sooner after retirement. Some of the ones I know joined the profession idealistic, and end up embittered within a year. They are not enabled to control difficult pupils, who can be utter shits with impunity and know perfectly well that they can ruin a teacher’s career by throwing an sexual / assault allegation at them, or threatening to. One young female teacher (secondary) I know told me that for the first term she would get in, shut the door and burst into tears every single night. She was working with deprived kids, who would be abominable – in the sorts of ways that would get someone arrested if not charged and taken to court – but had to be ‘understood.’ You couldn’t pay me to do that.

    But I suspect what annoys non-teachers is – and I accept this is the NUT, rather than teachers per se – that they constantly demand more money and fewer hours whilst not taking responsibility in any way for lowered standards ever (eg 42% 16 year olds not functionally literate). Indeed, denying that standards have lowered in that they deny grade inflation has made high grades meaningless (which any fool with a standard deviation graph could tell you in five seconds flat). And being virtually unsackable (with the aforementioned caveat of fiddling with the kids or being accused of same.) Also, the friends of mine who did the PGCE courses said that an awful lot of the people on them were academically woeful.

  21. The Thought Gang – “We’re talking about primary school teachers here. Is there *really* all that much prep and marking?”

    Yes. You’d be surprised at the amount of trivial crap that ofsted take into account when they visit, and the amount of paper work teachers have to fill out on each lesson for ofsted. Some of this is necessary, most of it is a waste of time. This is in addition to the planning and prep (which will become less of an issue the longer one is a teacher for obvious reasons).

  22. For what the anecdata is worth, I lived with a houseful of young teachers for a while. Some of them were primary, some were secondary. None worked as much as a 40-hour week in total, let alone once it was averaged out to include school holidays. Any marking that needed doing was done during lessons, whilst the kids were busy watching a video of a real teacher, or some such. ‘Marking’ generally meant putting a red tick on each piece of work without reading it, in any case. Then again most were incapable of marking correctly in any case, since they lacked the requisite skills to do so.

    I know there must be good teachers out there, just like when I was at school and had one or two – but I still come into contact with teachers from time to time, and there’s not a one I’d trust to babysit my (currently hypothetical) kids, let alone teach them. For a good ten or fifteen years – I don’t really know about before that – we’ve done an excellent job of recruiting the worst of the worst to become teachers: the lazy self-entitled idiots. For the most part they’re too stupid even to know they’re stupid.

  23. Chile?

    Excuse me, Chile?

    I suspect that Chile and the USA are probably not representative of the World and certainly not of the EU.

    You will find that he average teacher spends 40% of their working hours in front of the class. They spend and enormous amount of time doing The Process.

    The Process is that part of the job that has no bearing on the outcome.

    Just as Timmy has spent hours? days? weeks? pushing bits of paper around Europe, so teachers in this country spend about 24 hours a week creating spreadsheets, Power Point slides, Front Page documents et al. (The recommended number of PP slides per lesson at one school I know of is 15…)

    Throw in a few meetings and a half-dozen H&S reviews and you have yourself a 75 hour week.

    And yes the standard of teachers is woefully low by any measure the readers of this blog would use, because the standard has become magnificent by measures used by paper-pushing moronic bureaucrats

  24. My wife taught reception and year 1 up until about 10 years ago. I don’t know what the work load is now but probably not much different:

    First thing in morning (30 mins before start) brief classroom helpers/assistants on what is needed for each lesson during in the day.

    Lunchtime and playtime – listen tor readers.

    End of day sort out classroom. Staff meetings etc. Meetinrgs with parents who all believe that their child isn’t getting the coaching they need as they are all brilliant.

    Evenings

    – mark homework (yes SMFS its not that difficult just quantity.

    - write lesson plans including instructions for class room assistants (some of whom needed more supervision than the children). Not every night but there had to be done enough times to demonstrate to Ofstead that each lesson was unique

    - write report for Special Education Needs where required.

    - prepare specialist plans for SEN

    - towards the end of each term write individual reports for all the little darlings

    As a specialist reading teacher she also had to deal with children not in her class.

    I’m not defending teachers as even when she was working I could be quite scathing about their expectations, especially around understanding what their holiday entitlement really meant in terms of total package, just setting out that it isn’t just classroom hours that they work.

  25. Ofsted is necessary otherwise we would never have a clear picture of exactly how schools are performing. If that means an extra hour a day of work (and I doubt it takes that long) then so be it. We need to see the truth about how your school and your classroom is shaping up. Excellent schools never have ANY problem with Ofsted! They are more than happy to put an ‘outstanding’ Ofsted logo up on their website, when they are recognised for their good work. It’s the failing schools and failing teachers that protest the most.

    Sam summed it up:
    “But I suspect what annoys non-teachers is – and I accept this is the NUT, rather than teachers per se – that they constantly demand more money and fewer hours whilst not taking responsibility in any way for lowered standards ever (eg 42% 16 year olds not functionally literate). Indeed, denying that standards have lowered in that they deny grade inflation has made high grades meaningless (which any fool with a standard deviation graph could tell you in five seconds flat). And being virtually unsackable (with the aforementioned caveat of fiddling with the kids or being accused of same.)”

    The problem here is that whoever takes on the schoolteachers needs balls of steel. Can any politician weather the flack? Hell hath no fury like a teacher told they have to meet performance targets or change. It’s much easier for a government (ANY government) to take on the usual unions of discontent than the teachers’. There are really only two bastions of hardcore leftism in Britain: local authorities and schoolteachers.

  26. “Employers pay what they have to pay to attract and retain people who can do what they want done.” – GC

    School teachers should be subject to the labor market like any other job. The rest is intrigue. What a teacher makes in Chile is absolutely irrelevant.

  27. My six-year-old gets loads of homework, which gets marked. Now, my wife & I reckon that they’re giving all this homework to primary kids to compensate for the general lowering of standards, but that’s not the point here. The answer to the question “Primary teachers don’t have to do any marking, though, do they?” is “Actually, yes.”

    I work for banks. Since 2008, I’ve got in a fair few arguments ont’ Web (no, really) about whether I am therefore scum. Most people, even if they disagree with me, are at least vaguely civil. Most arguments tend to be technical, about the merits of the Robin Hood Tax and so on. If someone starts getting really nasty, calling me “evil”, accusing me of weird and wonderful things, and generally screaming until their heads explode, I can guarantee that they’re a teacher. Every. Time. As a result, I have lost all sympathy for them. They agitate for my pay to be slashed in half but expect me to support their campaign for bullet-proof pensions. Fuck ‘em.

  28. If teachers were remunerated in line with how important they claim to be, then they’d be in mid six figures. If their pay was cut until vacancies were on the point of remaining unfilled (i.e. the market clearing rate) then they’d get paid less than they do. It’s not the easiest of jobs being a teacher, but it’s far from the hardest. It could be made a lot easier with structural changes such as removing a good deal of superfluous bureaucratic bullshit, allowing genuine and permanent exclusion of feral scum, and destroying the unions. But all of those problems are caused by the educational establishment, not inflicted on it.

    And let’s not forget the three best things about being a teacher: June, July and August.

  29. dustybloke

    “Throw in a few meetings and a half-dozen H&S reviews and you have yourself a 75 hour week.”

    So a standard week of (maybe) 30 hours, plus the 24 hours of spreadsheets, makes 54, so these meetings last 21 hours each week.

    You’re claiming teachers have six health & safety reviews every week, each one lasting (by your figures) more than two hours?

  30. so can anyone answer my question?

    Are the figures actual pay, or per annum pay before deductions.

    The misses works at a school (admin), her PA pay is 22-24, her actual pay is 14-16k.

    Maybe I am being dense cus I can’t see if this is clarified, but every job advert for teachers is advertised at the PA figure.

    seems important, as who wants to argue about cutting wages to those earning under 20k?

  31. All those people telling us teachers work extra hours, yeah yeah, we know.

    So does everyone, though.

    If they don’t mlike it they should go and get another job – though half of them are useless and unemployable in my experience, (the other half being excellent people who would do well in many areas – rough figures).

  32. you have to write lesson plans and so forth, which is bureaucratic bullshit, but apparently there’s quite a lot of it.

    I can see why that would take a lot of time in your first year in the job. After that? Well, you just recycle what you did last year taking into account a few changes in the syllabus.

    Whenever this is mentioned, it’s as if they need to start a lesson plan from scratch for every lesson. It wouldn’t surprise me if you can download the damned things from the internet these days.

  33. @SkilfulArt
    “Ofsted is necessary otherwise we would never have a clear picture of exactly how schools are performing.”

    Actually I wonder if Ofsted is necessary. Have they really improved the education system? When we were looking at schools for our mini-mes, the first place to look at was the KS2 results, how many year 6s made it into grammar schools, the general reputation of the place, then we might trawl through the Ofsted opinion.

    I’m well aware, also, that many Ofsted inspectors themselves will have been exposed to the leftist ‘schools=social engineering factories’ doctrine, and that so much PC and trendy educational theories are promulgated through Ofsted.

    On the other hand, I can see that Ofsted are often the ones that blow the whistle on crap schools and trigger action, but that is often after parents have abandoned the place and everyone else is well aware of the problems, so the question is who the flip was allowing these places to limp on?

    Perhaps once we get some real competition back into the system Ofsted will become redundant, though I suspect there are way too many can’t-teachers doing nicely in the DfE and Ofsted management to let that happen.

  34. Roughly, it looks like primary school teachers earn about median wage. Is that outrageous? Remittance men don’t comment.

  35. “At an open day at a local private school.
    Yeah. Who would have guessed?
    Do you remember what it was?”

    Sums. Reminiscent of my day, except that these indulged little mites won’t get the tawse when they are wrong.

  36. “At an open day at a local private school.
    Yeah. Who would have guessed?
    Do you remember what it was?”

    Sums.

  37. Tim “Herod” Worstall’s point is quite simple.

    If you’re good you can do the job quite quickly.

    If you’re crap, it takes a long time and you join the NUT and whinge.

  38. Andrew MacBrayne

    You’d be surprised at the amount of trivial crap that ofsted take into account when they visit, and the amount of paper work teachers have to fill out on each lesson for ofsted. Some of this is necessary, most of it is a waste of time.

    No I wouldn’t. But you miss the point – teachers know that they are over paid for the few hours that they do and so they have filled the time with pointless “work” and meetings that make it look as if they are doing something.

    And God knows what primary school classes are doing with all those teaching assistants. It is not as if they are teaching classes of sixty any more. It looks like more make-work – and the title inflation we have seen with nurses.

  39. I think there’s a pretty strong argument for opening up the teaching vocation to market forces, and switching from the postgraduate training approach (PGCE) to something more in line with NVQs. Culturally, we have an ingrained notion that teaching is a ‘profession’, and the very word ‘profession’ has an almost magical social effect. We think of solicitors, barristers, actuaries, notaries, chartered accountants, etc. I don’t see that ‘primary school teacher’ should be on the list. My reasons are as follows:

    1) As someone else mentioned, many schools employ primary teaching assistants, who may be recent graduates or just people with a history of working with children.
    2) There has been, over the past century, a complete transformation of schooling. Government has directly mandated curricula that have completely discarded the old emphasis on the prep to quadrivium.
    3) The changing needs of our technologically advanced but socially retarded society have meant that many vocations have become, or are in the process of becoming, professions, and some professions are in the process of becoming vocations. Two examples: the solicitor, uber-spiv par excellence, has in the past enjoyed protected status by only being allowed to work as a partner or under a partnership, whereas now for example Tesco is perfectly at liberty to employ fifty cheap legal advisers for personal injury or wills and probate or whatever, under a single solicitor or barrister. Second example: nursing; once a skilled trade but rapidly becoming a profession if it isn’t one already. It now requires degrees and postgraduate diplomas in specialist medical fields.

    For these reasons, we should really rethink the whole idea of the postgraduate direct entry route to primary teaching. It seems reasonable to simply require new entrants to the job to pass some literacy and numeracy tests, perhaps require them to have some sort of degree, then train them on the job for successive NVQ levels. This will allow the market to influence pay rates more.

  40. Well, the Proggies generally want to control any industry with ideological influence, such as teaching (media, medicine, etc etc) and in so doing generally want it to be a guild with entry controls controlled by themselves. So, teaching must be a “profession” with specific training institutions, qualifications etc.

    We see a similar thing occuring in the great Proggie growth industry, the “Third Sector” currently, with the development of nonsense degrees in Sustainable Development and the like, a the startpoint of a professional career structure.

    (Which is why btw despite supposed “austerity” the Foreign Aid budet is ringfence and expanding; it supplies the funding for this new NGO professional class.)

    Mass education, controlled by the State, was one of the great projects of the Progressive First Wave. Its primary purpose was never to educate, in the general sense, but to mould citizens into the shape desired by ideologists. We should as such never really expect any more from it.

  41. Don’t think much of teaching, do you?

    Some anecdata:

    Mrs. Sam used to be a primary school teacher. In term time, she worked fairly long hours. She was a pretty good teacher (as measured by judgement of headteacher, and by improvement in test scores of children in her class). Her opinion was that she was paid a reasonable salary.

    She had a couple of part-time teaching assistants in her class. They were worse than useless – they had appalling grammar, and only provided a bad example for the children – but she was unable to get rid of them, or even turn down their “help”.

    She used to do her lesson plans twice – once in a way that was actually useful, and once in the format required by the LEA, which was pretty much unusable for actual teaching. She probably spent 10-15 hours a week in term time on completely worthless paperwork.

    She knew a few bad teachers, too. Everyone knew who they were, but it was basically impossible to fire them. On average, the bad ones did more pissing and whining about their workload.

    Of the classes that she taught, roughly one third of parents didn’t give a shit about their children’s education, one third cared and did vaguely sensible things, and one third cared about their children’s education but were completely inept. This was an inner city school in a poor area – results may not be typical.

  42. @Sam ‘Don’t think much of teaching, do you? Some anecdata:’

    None of that is any reason to think any more of teachers, though.

    The thing about teaching is we all have some experience of it.

    I went to a very expensive public school, and the teaching there was, in many cases, middling to poor.

    This suggests that it’s not an easy job, but then no-one (sensible) is saying it is.

    It’s probably very hard, and extremely rewarding if you are good at it. I can’t think of many better feelings than that which you must get if you manage to turn a thick inner city yob into a thinking youth. It would literally bring tears to my eyes.

    What we are complaining about is teachers that moan about their lot. If they don’t like this hole, find another. That’s how life works, surely?

  43. Interested – “It’s probably very hard, and extremely rewarding if you are good at it. I can’t think of many better feelings than that which you must get if you manage to turn a thick inner city yob into a thinking youth. It would literally bring tears to my eyes.”

    Actually I think it tends to be extremely embittering the better you are at it. Because the whole system is set up to prevent teachers teaching. They cannot control their classes. They cannot discipline because they can be pretty sure their Heads will not back them up. They cannot teach. The better you are at it, in my limited experience of teachers, the worse you feel about it. The cynical and incompetent just go through the motions and collect the pay cheque. But people who can and want to teach find it hell.

    What we are complaining about is teachers that moan about their lot. If they don’t like this hole, find another. That’s how life works, surely?

    It is more than that. They are still paid generously. They still do not work long hours. They are responsible for their own problems because it is their Union that has ruined the system. It is their Union that protects the incompetent and drags wages down. And yet they loudly blame everyone but themselves. If they want to improve things, elect a new set of Union leaders and lobby for reform of discipline. I bet that most teachers would prefer real powers to expel on a large scale than another ten thousand a year.

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