Opinion Former Article

NASUWT: Teachers recruitment and retention crisis looms

A return to the recruitment and retention crises of the 90s is inevitable if the Coalition Government continues its attempts to drive down teachers’ pay, representatives at the Annual Conference of the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union, has warned at conference.

The Conference, which is being held in Birmingham, has debated a motion that argued that the two-year pay freeze, coupled with moves to introduce local pay and the effects of the soaring cost of living, are making teaching a less attractive option for graduates and are threatening to undermine recruitment and retention to the profession.

Chris Keates, NASUWT General Secretary, said:

“When the Coalition took office, teaching was the top career choice for graduates, and pay levels had risen.

“In less than two years, starting salaries for teachers are now around 20% lower than the average for graduate professions and are falling further behind as a result of the pay freeze and increased pension contributions.

“As a result, by September 2012 teachers at the beginning of their career will have had a salary cut of over £3,000.

“Applications for teaching have already plummeted by 30% this year - unheard of in a time of recession.

“Constantly attacking teachers’ pay, pensions and conditions will only make the teaching profession less attractive to new graduates and reignite the recruitment and retention crisis last seen under a Conservative Government in the 1980s and 1990s.”


NASUWT Press Office contacts:
Lena Davies 07867 392 746
Ben Padley 07785 463 119

Notes to editors
The NASUWT’s Annual Conference is being held at the International Convention Centre (ICC) in Birmingham from April 6-9.

The ‘Big Question’, the NASUWT’s annual ‘state of the nation’ survey of the teaching profession asked members for their views on pay. It found that:
67% of teachers do not believe that there should be a pay freeze;
75% believe that there should be a pay rise in line with inflation;
53% believe that people are put off a career in teaching because of the pay freeze (up from 43%);
79% do not think that teaching is competitive with other professions (down from 80%).
17,500 members responded to the survey, which was conducted in March 2012.

The full text of the motion to be debated is below.


John Rimmer to move,

Dave Wilkinson to second:

Conference condemns the two-year freeze on teachers’ pay, which will:

(i) make teaching a less attractive career option for graduates;

(ii) undermine the recruitment and retention of graduates to the teaching profession;

(iii) erode the gains made in teachers’ pay over the last decade and

(iv) trigger a return to the teacher recruitment and retention crises of the past.


Conference recognises the weight of evidence which confirms that teachers benefit from very modest pay and rewards in comparison with the overwhelming majority of opportunities available in the graduate and postgraduate labour markets.

Conference notes that teachers’ average starting salaries are around 20% less than the median graduate starting salaries and that pay levels are falling further behind.


Conference commits the National Executive to campaign to secure:

(a) pay and rewards for teachers which are equivalent to, or better than, the median salaries that apply in the graduate and postgraduate labour market and

(b) pay and rewards for teachers which provide:

(1) fair pay and rewards for all teachers;

(2) nationally competitive salaries which reward teachers appropriately, in recognition of the important social and economic contribution they make to society;

(3) high rewards for classroom practitioners;

(4) Retail Prices Index inflation proofing and

(5) transparency and public accountability in relation to teachers’ pay.




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