Tension between teachers and politicians grows as their wages decrease, leading many who have recently completed their PGCE to move abroad to teach in an environment where they can earn a reasonable living.
The average wage of a primary teacher in the UK has decreased by a ‘shocking’ £12.70 per week without accounting for inflation, a report from TES claims.
Further analysis by TES of data presented by the Office of National Statistics finds that the average weekly wage of a secondary teacher in 2010 was £666.20 and in 2016 was just £2.30 more.
Research done by TES Global earlier in the year found that the UK is home to the most popular teachers in the world. Even Chinese teachers who triggered the best results for maths and science in the PISA tests often come second to British teachers and the British style of education which are both highly sought after in China as shown by the growing number of English speaking schools in China and around the world.
This rapid growth is however causing internal problems for the UK education system because it means that there are better opportunities for British teachers to teach abroad. Research from the International Schools Consultancy found that, due to a 41.5% rise in the past 5 years of the number of English mediated schools outside of the UK there will need to be 780,000 teachers within 10 years to accommodate the demand.
There are only 509,700 teachers teaching in the UK as of this year, a report from the Huffington Post denotes.
“Given around 42% of international schools offer a UK curriculum, this means that almost as many teachers will be needed to teach the UK curriculum abroad as there are currently teaching in the UK.
“It’s no wonder then that around 10% of UK teachers are saying they are seriously looking or certain to be teaching abroad in the next three years.
“This is taking place at a time when the UK is facing an unprecedented teacher shortage with over 40,000 teachers leaving the profession a year, often citing workload pressures as the primary reason.”
The ‘teacher retention crisis’ – as TES deems the trend of leaving the country followed by so many new teachers – has been blamed on the sunny weather, exciting cultural experiences and of course better pay packages. One anonymous teacher reporting for TES is adamant that the reason for teaching abroad was not due to any of these. Instead it was the ‘sour taste’ from the PGCE experience which was left in her mouth.
She describes the sums to train to be a teacher as ‘extortionate’ and outlines the process by which a teacher in the UK must ‘beg for the opportunity’ to work for the same institution that put them in debt in the first place.
She is now earning a tax-free salary that amounts to around one and a half times more than she could have earned in the UK in a job where she is afforded more free time. She states that she has ‘made the right decision’ despite all of the things she misses from her homeland.