Teacher pay

Teacher pay: 8 interesting findings from the DfE’s STRB evidence

Ministers' submission includes analysis of the teacher recruitment and retention market, as well as staff pay trends

Ministers' submission includes analysis of the teacher recruitment and retention market, as well as staff pay trends



The government has published evidence on teacher pay behind its submission to the School Teachers’ Review Body.

Here are 8 interesting findings.

1. Bursary cuts may have ‘played role’ in application drop

Teacher training applications rose in 2020 after the start of the Covid pandemic, but more recent data suggests the boost was short-lived.

The DfE said this “does not necessarily mean that the pandemic boost to recruitment had subsided completely”.

They added “other factors” could have played a role, including “changes to bursaries” since 2019-20.

Bursaries were slashed by as much as 73 per cent for new teachers this year. Some will increase or be reintroduced for this coming September, but many are still not back to pre-pandemic levels.

2. School direct salaried numbers crash after grant cut

The number of trainees on the school direct (salaried) route into teaching fell from 2,159 in 2020-21 to just 783 in 2021-22, a drop of 64 per cent.

Emma Hollis, of the National Association of School-Based Teacher Trainers, said this was a “direct result” of the DfE’s decision in 2020 to remove grants for primary trainees on the route.

Hollis said a “large proportion” of those on the route were previously primary trainees. But the grant removal “effectively removed the opportunity for salaried option for primary teachers.

“We do expect numbers to remain low as grants have not been restored,” she added.

3. Primary pupil population to fall 10% by 2030

Anticipated changes in the number of pupils is considered when deciding on teacher recruitment numbers.

The DfE expects the primary pupil population to drop by 10.3 per cent between 2019-20 and 2029-30.

A population bulge created by the 2000s baby boom will have moved into secondary schools.

The secondary pupil population will continue to increase, peaking in 2023-24, before gradually dropping. However, by 2029-30, the secondary population will still be 2.6 per cent higher than it was in 2019-20.

Overall, the total pupil population will be 5.1 per cent lower in 2029-30 than it was ten years beforehand.

4. Pay rise would retain just 1,000 more teachers

The DfE proposes raising pay for new teachers by 16 per cent over the next two years to meet its £30,000 starting salary pledge.

Most other teachers and all leaders would only see their pay rise by three per cent next year and two per cent the year after under the government’s proposals.

The DfE estimated the rises would retain “over 1,000 extra teachers” per year by 2023-24, compared to 2019-20, although there was “significant uncertainty around this estimate”.

In pre-pandemic 2019, 39,675 teachers left the profession. Of these, 5,979 retired and 131 died, leaving 33,565 who took a break or left for good.

However, it would be “extremely difficult” to estimate the impact of higher starting salaries on recruitment, the analysis stated.

5. Women are paid 4.2% less than men

DfE analysis found a 4.2 per cent average pay gap between the base pay of full-time women and men in the profession. The gap was smaller, at 2.8 per cent, for part-time workers.

This is down to “differences in progression into and pay within leadership posts”, DfE said. 

Although pay has risen over recent years, the average size of the pay gap has not increased, the analysis adds.

6. ‘Small but persistent’ ethnicity gap

The DfE found a “small but persistent” gap between the progression rates of white and Asian teachers and those of Black teachers.

This was “particularly evident” at the top end of the main pay scale.

7  Men more likely to become senior leaders, but not heads

The DfE evidence found that men were “slightly more likely” to progress into senior leadership roles from the classroom than women.

But there was “no gap in progression” from senior leadership into headship roles, the DfE said.

8. Disability data missing for half of teachers

The school workforce census asks schools to provide information on teachers with disabilities.

But this was not obtained for 52 per cent of teachers in the 2020 census.

Even where data is held, data quality is a “particular issue for the analysis of disability, as we rely on routinely collected administrative data, which is not always entered by the teacher themselves into the system”.

This means the data may under-count teachers with “hidden” disabilities.



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