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Maths teachers should be paid more than PE teachers

(161 Posts)
noblegiraffe Sun 22-Apr-18 12:47:03

Maths teachers should be paid more than PE teachers because there is a critical shortage of maths teachers and we have plenty of PE teachers.

What would people think of this? It was a topic that came up on the teacher polling app Teacher Tapp a while back, with mixed opinions.

I’m not saying that maths teachers are more important than PE teachers, or have a more difficult job (I’d rather teach bottom set Y9 than supervise rugby in the winter). But as a retention tool? Some say that it’s already happening with teachers of shortage subjects more likely to be waved up the pay scale, or hired on a higher point or given a meaningless TLR, but it’s all ad-hoc.

The DfE throw money at people to train in shortage subjects, but then there’s no extra money to retain them. Although in maths next year maths students will be getting a retention bonus after 3 and 5 years, the initial bursary has dropped significantly and NQTs could well still be starting on M1, and there is nothing for teachers already in the system.

What do people think? (Obviously I say maths because I’m a maths teacher, but the same argument would go for other serious shortage subjects). Should market forces determine subject pay scales?

OP’s posts: |
Celticlassie Sun 22-Apr-18 12:51:07

English teachers should be paid more because the marking workload is higher.

[backs away quietly]

AalyaSecura Sun 22-Apr-18 12:54:26

How much of the shortage is due to difficulties in recruiting subjects like maths, and how much is retention - do maths teachers leave at significantly higher rates?

noblegiraffe Sun 22-Apr-18 12:56:15

This isn’t a workload argument though, every subject has its pluses and minuses on that front, it’s simply about scarcity.

If it was about workload, primary should get paid the most, but bizarrely there are still people queuing up to be primary teachers (national picture at least), despite lack of bursary incentives and crap workload.

OP’s posts: |
noblegiraffe Sun 22-Apr-18 12:59:32

Retention is worse in shortage subjects:

The report calculated that:

about 10.4% of science teachers left the profession each year
10.3% of maths teachers
10.2% of those teaching languages
10% of technology teachers
English was just behind, with 9.7% leaving each year
These rates were higher than other subjects - for example, 5.9% of PE teachers left each year.

Of those teaching arts subjects such as art, drama and music, 8.4% left each year, alongside 8.5% of those teaching humanities such as history and geography.

OP’s posts: |
Moussemoose Sun 22-Apr-18 12:59:41

Divide and conquer.

Once teachers negotiate salary individually wages will go down for the majority.

Some subject will become 'sink' subject with low paid, low motivated teaches behaviour will deteriorate and this will spread across the whole school.

Hey if we negotiate individually some schools should pay more than others. You could get paid more if parents donate to the school. Come on parents chip in for the teachers....

Everyone in the staff room hates each other, no pulling together.

You can stick your sports teams and extra curricular, get those highly paid maths teachers to do it.

Think about the long term ramifications; this is a ludicrous idea.

AlonsoTigerHeart Sun 22-Apr-18 13:04:00

Thats setting teachers against others before they even get to the classrooms.

user1471450935 Sun 22-Apr-18 13:05:44

Not a teacher,
But our northern underfunded comprehensive, has cut PE teacher numbers, especially male, to the bone, we now have only 2 full time male teachers, but 3 or 4 sets, female teachers are covering, they are good, but not great for 11-16 old males.
We don't seem to be short of maths teachers either, we have 8 maths sets, all taught by fully qualified maths teachers.
Its non Maths, English, Science and History/Geography posts which are being culled to lack of funding, which tends to leave "fun" subjects in short supply.
I think all Teachers should be paid more and have collective bargaining/national pay structure, though that's my personal views as a parent only.

RowenaDedalus Sun 22-Apr-18 13:13:12

We need to do something to recruit maths teachers. My school is missing 6 maths teachers. It's ridiculous. I teach a subject which is on the phase out - I would retrain if there was help available. I wouldn't want to do a poor job!

Needmoresleep Sun 22-Apr-18 13:15:27

It is usual in many other parts of the public sector to pay people in shortage specialisms more.

A qualified and experienced maths teacher in London will not only have the option of parallel careers requiring similar skills (accountancy, say) but also of private schools and, as importantly, of the large number of sixth form tutorial colleges preparing overseas students for UK University entry. Plus lots of scope for renumerative private tutoring. Tutorial colleges can be great with small classes and motivated students, and also flexibile timetables with no additional school duties. (Wednesday afternoons on the golf course etc.) Top London private schools may offer teacher accomodation and a different working environment. My observation is that some of the most talented maths teachers in the private sector have, or would have, struggled in the state sector. And perhaps that is not just about sector. Teaching at Kings Maths school, say, allows a good mathematician to spend more time teaching FM and STEP to able pupils, quite different to helping a discouraged pupil to get their all-important GCSE pass.

Whether maths teachers should be paid more is not really the question. Instead the question is whether it is possible to recruit maths teachers if you don't pay them more.

noblegiraffe Sun 22-Apr-18 13:21:00

Thats setting teachers against others before they even get to the classrooms.

It already happens with the bursaries for teacher training, determined by teacher shortage as a recruitment measure. It doesn’t seem to put off PE teachers applying for teacher training.

OP’s posts: |
AtiaoftheJulii Sun 22-Apr-18 13:25:55

Does teacher recruitment use the concept of "golden hellos", like they do in nursing for non-sexy areas such as elderly care and dialysis? That could be an option. Entice them in without causing too much resentment later on when the maths teacher who's been there 3 years gets a bonus.

But again, like nursing, it's about improving not just pay, but conditions once you're in the job. Public sector professions are never going to pay enough if you're having a completely shite time at work.

noblegiraffe Sun 22-Apr-18 13:30:43

They’ve introduced that for maths teachers next year, Atia, a bonus at 3 and 5 years, but they’ve reduced the initial bursary to £20k, thousands less than this year (can’t remember, £27k?).

But that does nothing for the trainee maths teacher who is an NQT next year starting on M1.

OP’s posts: |
Needmoresleep Sun 22-Apr-18 13:46:45

Public sector unions will focus on the all-for-one and one-for-all. They hope that pressure to increase wages in some areas to deal with recruitment problems will result in higher wages for everyone. In my non-teaching role the issue was London weighting. The idea being that you increased national salaries rather than London weighting. Given there was little recruitment problem outside London, and colleagues outside London had far superior standards of living (lower accommodation, costs, no expensive and time-consuming commutes etc) it seemed a bit unfair. But I could see why the Union would want to support the majority.

Trouble is maths teachers are individuals so will make decisions based on what suuts them best.

hidingmystatus Sun 22-Apr-18 13:48:51

Outside the public sector, people with skills which are in short supply are paid vastly more than those without them. One only needs to consider Premiership footballers vs lower leagues to see that. However, it works throughout industry, the professions (outside public sector), and pretty much everywhere. Does it not also work in the NHS? Aren't very specialist doctors and specialist nurses paid more?
So why shouldn't shortage subject teachers be paid more?

DairyisClosed Sun 22-Apr-18 13:51:10

Well yes. In a free market that would already be the case. Clearly they aren't paying enough to attract people capable of the job. The only alternative to paying more is to start cutting maths out of the curriculum altogether. That us hardly an adequate response.

Moussemoose Sun 22-Apr-18 14:14:52

Teaching does not happen in a bubble.

In a secondary school lesson one impacts on lesson two. You know this. A well paid well motivated teacher in lesson two will have their lesson influenced by a lower paid less well motivated teacher in lesson 2.

We teach together, schools are communities they are symbiotic. If people choose to act as individuals the community will be destroyed.

Unions seek to reinforce the sense of community cohesion that builds strength. Negotiate together for a better deal for everyone.

Grabbing the most you can get with your greedy hands will ruin the community for everyone. Not least of all pupils.

This is a classic case of the golden egg. Grabbing short term that will have massive long term implications in the future.

Thatcher selling council houses in the eighties - some people did well out of it but it is having a distressingly negative influence on the poor and housing in general.

We are strongest when we work together,

MaisyPops Sun 22-Apr-18 14:22:32

I think it's divide and rule.

Instead of throwinh money at bursaries they should use the money to fund increased PPA time which will have a knock on effect on workload anx then stop talking the profession down to justify endless silly reforms.

Maybe some sort of bonus at 5 years in and at 10 years.

AlexanderHamilton Sun 22-Apr-18 14:29:55

I’m sorry but i strongly disagree

Whilst I appreciate how hard it is to recruit (Dd in particular has hadn’t difficulties with the school getting good science teachers) it has been a drama teacher (at his old school) & a music & PE teacher (despite him not being sporty) at his new school who have kept Ds on track, in school & Handled him so well that he has been able to achieve in other subjects (such as maths).

Inspirational teachers of all subjects need to be recruited & retained & I don’t necessarily think it comes down to money but more down to pressure, expectations & constant governmental edicts.

RaindropsAndSparkles Sun 22-Apr-18 14:35:37

Completely agree: maths, science, languages and English. All essential and key to an overall excellent education - and all employable in higher paying, alternative careers.

I think education would be significantly better if more were done tonencourage the best brains to join it.

FWIW I don't wven think PE should be compulsory in its present form. It damages and encourages bullying and feelings of inadequacy.

Piggywaspushed Sun 22-Apr-18 15:19:09

hmmmm.... I do think I already work in a world where maths and science are now valued and prized so much more than other subjects that better opportunities exist for teachers simply because they teach those subjects. For example, almost our entire SLT are science teachers and at least three more of them and several maths teachers have sinecure TLRs, . So, it would seem their 'skills' are being rewarded?

The poor retention now in English is often overlooked. This gets us to a situation where staff are resigning for this half term, and where we have had chronic understaffing for two to three years now, and our department has over allocation timetables for June and July (when thing are supposed to be 'quiet' LOL) leading to people in English teaching twice to three times as many lessons as colleagues in all other subject areas. Just a bit of a rant but that also isn't equitable or fair. Not sure how we should be recompensed - but we should be.

noblegiraffe Sun 22-Apr-18 15:19:35

A well paid well motivated teacher in lesson two will have their lesson influenced by a lower paid less well motivated teacher in lesson 2

Why do you think that the lower paid teacher will be less motivated? Are NQTs less motivated than those on UPS3?

And what about the impact on the school of not having qualified maths teachers? Students coming from a lesson where they have been taught by a string of supply teachers, or an unqualified teacher, or a PE teacher who has been roped into teaching maths because they have space on their timetable must surely have an effect?

OP’s posts: |
FireplaceLover Sun 22-Apr-18 15:38:03

I’m an English teacher. I did 5yrs in primary before switching. The workload in primary nearly killed me and almost ended my marriage. My marking is heavy as an English teacher but my overall workload is far less and I get a chance to do some marking/paperwork during the day.

I can’t argue that there’s a shortage of maths/physics teachers. But if they started to get paid more than me then I’d be far closer to leaving. A lot of the thinking behind it seems to be this idea that they could do so much better in life than teach and we should all be grateful they’ve chosen this career and thus pay them their worth. But I sit here thinking what else I could have done with excellent Alevels, a 2:1 from a top 5 university and a masters. A good friend from my university course became a management consultant, another did accountancy (yes, after an English degree). Both earn far in excess of any teacher pay scale. Both far less stressed at work than me. But hey, I wanted to teach. However, if colleagues starting earning more due to their perceived value then I probably wouldn’t bother. It would cause just too much resentment.

Moussemoose Sun 22-Apr-18 15:44:15


Why do I think a teacher who is paid less and considered less valuable may not be as motivated? Why do I think saying to a teacher "the subject you are teaching is not really that important" might demoralise them?

You want to pay more to get good people therefore the reverse is true. You pay less the people aren't as good. Your own argument.

We should stick together to support each other. Schools are communities. Unless you want to teach students that money grubbing and judging people on their economic worth is a good thing.

Teachers should be paid more, they should have better pay and conditions but none of us go in to it for the money.

Although...... we don't all need maths do we? Let's devise an arithmetic GCSE only let the really clever kids do maths. We could half the number of maths teachers then. Anyone can teach a bit of adding up and taking away.
Pay the good maths teachers more and sack the rest. Would save a fortune. Pay English teaches more.

See it's dead easy to devise stupid fuckwitted ideas.

Kazzyhoward Sun 22-Apr-18 15:50:04

Should market forces determine subject pay scales?

Yes of course they should in all respects. I.e. not just for shortage subject teachers, but also geographically. Teachers in London/SE are far too poorly paid, but teacher salaries in other areas are pretty good, especially in the deprived north. Market forces determine pay in the private sector and it works well, so time to get rid of national pay scales as well as creating differentials for subjects.

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