Teachers who are just starting out in their careers should be targeted for pay rises with extra funding being used to encourage them to stay in the profession.

The call comes from the Education Policy Institute who have published a report that highlights the government should not be just focusing on recruiting teachers but also at how teachers can be encouraged to remain within the profession.

The EPI says there is evidence to suggest that targeting pay incentives at teachers in those subjects that struggle with teacher shortages will help boost retention rates.

However, the EPI also says that schools are unable to make the payments because of their budget pressures.

After lifting the public sector 1% pay cap recently, the government is under growing pressure to give extra cash for schools.

Unions say a pay rise is desperately needed

Teaching unions say a pay rise is desperately needed but it needs to be funded fully so that employers can afford it.

The EPI says that officials should be targeting extra funds for schools including salary supplements for those subjects short of teachers when in the early stages of their career.

The NAHT’s Paul Whiteman said the proposal of targeting some teachers with extra funds and not others will be seen as a ‘kick in the teeth’.

He explained: “Having a differential approach to teachers pay will do little to help retention and will affect the morale of existing teachers – as they have had seven years of cuts to their real pay.”

He says that lifting the schools pay cap will help but it needs to be fully funded.

Government failing to provide enough teachers

The NEU’s joint general secretary, Mary Bousted, said the research pointed to the government failing to provide enough teachers in schools.

She added: “The NEU, however, does not agree that the government must prioritise retention before recruitment. The government should stop tinkering and address problems and offer better pay and reducing workload.”

The EPI’s executive director of research, Natalie Parera, said their evidence highlights the growing shortage of teachers and the ways to effectively tackle the issue of retention.

She said: “Some subjects are seeing shortages and if the government wants to ease pressure and help protect educational standards then it should consider ways to offer financial and other incentives to those teachers who are early in their career in the subject.”

Researchers also highlight a potential future problem

Researchers also highlight a potential future problem with primary school numbers growing by 4% by 2025 and by 20% at secondary school level.

This means there will be more teachers needed, particularly in EBacc subjects, the government is keen for pupils to take.

In order to meet this challenge, the EPI says that modern language teacher numbers need to be boosted by 78% by 2020.

More information

The Education Policy Institute’s report, ‘The teacher labour market: a perilous path ahead?‘ can be found on their website.