THE teachers should be offered 25% more in their pay packets to work in the most challenging schools, according to the Government’s social mobility tsar.
Alan Milburn called for an overhaul of teachers’ pay, arguing that more action is needed to attract good candidates into working in disadvantaged areas.
In a speech to the Policy Exchange think-tank in London, Mr Milburn, chair of the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission, said education is the most important factor in determining a youngster’s future social status.
While there has been major changes in the last 15 years and progress made in narrowing the achievement gap between rich and poor pupils, there is still a “long tale of education under-achievement,” he says.
“Far too many young people from disadvantaged backgrounds still leave school without good qualifications and the gap between poorer children and others remains unacceptably high.”
A key area of reform for the next government should be improving teaching quality in disadvantaged areas, Mr Milburn argues.
“Excellent teaching has a stronger positive impact on those from disadvantaged backgrounds than other children,” he says.
“High-quality teaching can add as much as 18 months of learning to a disadvantaged pupil compared to six months provided by a less-good teacher.
“In other words, the difference between an excellent and a poor teacher can be a whole year of learning.”
Mr Milburn put forward three measures, the first being to ensure that academies are focusing on improved teacher quality, with those that fail to do so told to use some of their pupil premium funding - extra cash for poor children - on rewarding good teachers and attracting new ones with higher rates of pay.
He goes on to say: “Next, on assuming office, the next government should immediately commission the School Teachers Pay Review Body to create new pay grades for the best teachers to work in challenging schools in the hardest-to-recruit areas.
“Finally, it should pilot a Teachers’ Pay Premium, costing £20 million a year and funded from university-widening participation budgets, to offer 2,000 of the best teachers a 25 per cent pay uplift if they agree to teach in a challenging school.”
He adds that there should also be incentives alongside pay to make working in schools in challenging areas more attractive.
This could include creating a teaching fast stream that allows teachers to rise up the ranks quicker in return for spending time in a disadvantaged school.