Excellent articles by two teacher union general secretaries, criticised the Tories` education policies and emphasised how "cutting funding for schools and colleges" is, quite simply, the "wrong approach" (Morning Star,14/09/15). What is absolutely clear, also, is that there is now a very serious "teacher recruitment crisis".
With the problem of teacher shortage exacerbating, does not the government`s reluctance to act simply suggest that it doesn`t care, especially as the emphasis on extending its "academies programme" not only increases the likelihood of more unqualified staff being appointed, but also of more schools being forced to academise because of below-average examination results?
Considering a newly-qualified teacher faces the prospect of a maximum, though not guaranteed, 1% annual pay rise on the £22,244 salary, which works out after tax, national insurance and student loan repayment, at around £340 a week, it is not difficult to understand why postgraduates are not being attracted by a teaching career. Add into the mix the fact that the government is also unwilling to prevent private rents rising to whatever level greedy landlords desire, or to reduce the teachers` workload, now standing for many at 60 hours a week, and it becomes even easier to comprehend. Government initiatives, syllabus reforms and new targets all continue unabated, making the current situation even worse.
It`s clearly not just that teachers deserve credit for the great job that most do, but that unadulterated praise is needed, and their opinions valued. The government should stop, immediately, taking advice from privately and Oxbridge educated "thinktankees" about what`s best for state schools.
The current situation, with huge recruitment and retention problems, can only get worse, unless there are immediate announcements about financial incentives, workload reductions and increased status for teachers. Sadly, what is far more likely is industrial action by teachers, and who can blame them?