Even worse teacher shortages warning

A UNION official is warning teacher shortages in Suffolk could worsen following a pay rise which will see basic teaching salaries increase by just 2.9 per cent.

A UNION official is warning teacher shortages in Suffolk could worsen following a pay rise which will see basic teaching salaries increase by just 2.9 per cent.

Martin Goold, county secretary of the National Union of Teachers, accused the Government of turning its back on the current teaching crisis by offering a pay rise in line with inflation from April.

The increase was announced by Education Secretary Charles Clarke yesterday, but was immediately met by criticism from union leaders, who said it would do nothing to ease recruitment problems.

It came on the same day it was revealed the Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine of Lairg, had been awarded a 12.6% pay rise – more than four times the inflation rate – to increase his salary by £22,000 to £202,736 a year.


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The pay deal means the starting salaries for new teachers in schools in East Anglia will be £18,105.

Mr Goold said: "We have in Suffolk over 100 teacher vacancies unfilled at the moment. We are concerned as over the next eight and nine years about 40% of the teaching profession are due to retire.

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"I think it's unbelievable the Government would not wish to continue to address the problems of teacher recruitment and retention with a higher increase.

"All I can say is that the crisis in teacher vacancies will get worse in Suffolk as well as everywhere else."

Mr Goold said the 2.9% increase in teacher's basic pay had come as no surprise as it had been

It was recommended by the School Teachers' Review Body, which was under heavy pressure from ministers to come up with a proposal that reflected the Government's determination to keep a lid on public sector pay increases.

Suffolk's education officials said teaching vacancies in the county had reduced by more than 60 compared to this time last year.

A spokeswoman for Suffolk County Council said a survey carried out last month had showed there were 107.5 full-time equivalent posts vacant across Suffolk, compared with 172.1 this time last year.

She added as a percentage of the teacher workforce – including primary, middle and secondary schools – of about 5,500, that represented a vacancy rate of 1.98%.

Tony Lewis, a member of the county council's executive committee, said: "Our challenge areas at the moment are maths teachers at secondary schools and senior posts generally – a situation that is to be found all over the country.

"However, I am pleased that we have kept a high number of teachers in permanent posts and it proves the worth of the different strategies we are using to 'grow our own' teachers as well as using traditional recruitment methods."

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