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Will paying off student loans tempt more graduates into teaching?

Discussion in 'Education news' started by TES_Rosaline, Oct 20, 2015.

  1. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

    As we all know, the profession is facing a recruitment and retention crisis and innovative ideas are needed to try and boost the teaching numbers.

    But would a financial incentive really help to entice more people to the education industry?

    James Darley, a director of the graduate recruitment scheme Teach First, would like to see the government pay the one-year tuition fees for all trainee teachers if they are working in a challenging school. However, Mr Darley believes that graduates must agree to spend at least five years in schools in low-income areas before their student loans are paid off.


    Mr Darley revealed that this year had been a difficult time for recruitment with lower than expected applications.

    Other suggestions made at the Future of the Teaching Workforce conference included the repayment of student loans should be considered for teachers in all state-funded schools, and for headteachers to ensure that their staff know that their working day ends at 6pm.

    But do you think these ideas, if adopted, go far enough to address the problem of recruitment?
  2. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    The Profession is dead. Long drudge the Workforce.
    drek and Scintillant like this.
  3. needabreak

    needabreak Star commenter

    I guess the key question there is whether money is the main motivator and that would to some extent depend on whether student teachers can afford housing and expenses while working in those areas. The tie in sounds a bit of a bind :rolleyes:

    Of course a lot also depends on the value placed on that particular teacher training programme and in school support provided against other ways of entering the profession (if they are still viable), as well as numbers in HE generally; the last set of data I saw indicated that undergraduate numbers were still on the rise (certainly had not fallen as expected) although that through flow has a couple of years to run, I wonder if it is still the same for those starting this/next year now that maintenance grants have completely gone.
  4. needabreak

    needabreak Star commenter

    As to the last question posed sooner or later public sector employers will realise that to retain good staff requires improved motivation that is not simply monetary. Unfortunately the reason some perceive the profession as dead is because of the lack of value placed on those in the profession. They have not been widely motivated in recent years and the conditions which they have had to deal with have on the contrary been demotivating.

    The idea that schools can thrive on a transient workforce is what should in fact be dead.
  5. RedQuilt

    RedQuilt Star commenter

    It might attract some but I can't see how it would improve retention.
    lanokia likes this.
  6. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    Graduates will quickly forget their loans and feel the utter dreariness and dread of the workplace crushing down on them.

    This 'solution' is a bureaucrats solution, it does NOTHING to address the problems in teaching.

    Sad to say this but the lack of nationwide industrial action is a damning indictment on English teachers [can't comment on the other three nations].
    drek, needabreak and RedQuilt like this.
  7. needabreak

    needabreak Star commenter

    At risk of being ridiculed for the use of economic terminology I would say that the reason public sector teachers are able to be treated in this way is because they are employed by a monopsony.

    That is when an employer has market power in the labor market, since where else would teachers teach in the UK? The employer is therefore the equivalent of a monopoly. If we take into account the other teaching options the situation is at best oligopolistic (few involved in that market). This is not allowing wages to naturally react to shortages etc.

    The argument is that a monopsonist is able to hold wage below the equilibrium level, just like a monopolist would hold prices below the competitive equilibrium in any other market.

    Now using the governments own theories on economic policy this would not be allowed in any other market which is why we have the competetition and markets authority to regulate them, in this case however the government are clearly the key stakeholder beneficiary to this state of affairs.
    hermitcrabbe and lanokia like this.
  8. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    The last time I saw equilibrium in a British market it cost me £2.99 and starred Christian Bale.
    lanokia and needabreak like this.
  9. needabreak

    needabreak Star commenter

    Your implication is of course correct equilibrium prices don't readily occur in reality. However I did qualify the point by making reference to the government's own economic theories and in any case when you have a single unregulated employer they dictate the wage do they not? So therein lies the problem.
  10. foxtail3

    foxtail3 Star commenter

    It's not money that is at the heart of the recruitment and retention problem. If a minimum of five years is required as a result of accepting this pay off, more teachers will face mental health issues of stress in the workplace.

    Why low income areas? Is that now being equated with 'difficult' schools?

    In any case, the pay progression will remain the same. How are head teachers going to ensure the working day finishes at 6pm? Teachers may leave school at that time, but there will be complaints if books aren't marked, lesson plans completed etc, because the teacher has downed tools at 6. Who wants to s going to police what they do at home?

    There may be some who are initially seduced I guess.
  11. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    It works into TF's business model.
  12. sabrinakat

    sabrinakat Star commenter

    They've 'successfully' tried this in the USA, Teach for America, has been running for about twenty years and they place college graduates into a variety of schools, but loans are not forgiven, you are given about 6K a year towards fees for continuing education, although some universities match them and it is a one or two year commitment. It gives opportunities to become certified teachers, but graduates start at the lowest salary with only five weeks training in the summer, with a retention rate of 68% (according to their own figures).

    Darley's suggestion isn't particularly groundbreaking as the English government already gives bursaries to do a PGCE for maths, science, foreign languages (including Latin) and a few other subjects. If you graduated with a first/2.1 or have a MA or PhD, then fees are paid along with some money to live on.

    damnant quod non intellegunt
  13. needabreak

    needabreak Star commenter

    I think they mean pay off their undergraduate loans sabrinakat, he mentioned that the bursaries are for some teachers in some subjects so I guess he means make it more widely available. While some students will have loans in excess of 30k after 3 years if you include their maintenance loans now.
  14. hermitcrabbe

    hermitcrabbe Established commenter

    Well, I am sure it will attract some graduates,but I fear they will not be the most suitable.

    Its happened before when " Golden Hello's" have been given out. I have seen the quality and type it attracted ( and there was certainly a type) . It was not good.

    It will certainly not, I think, attract need to be attracted.
  15. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    30k tax free equates to 50k per annum salary.

    Fifty K!!!

    And they still aren't signing up. Says something really.
  16. needabreak

    needabreak Star commenter

    Perhaps they just have to look at the faces of their previous teachers to see the consequences of a career in teaching. Sometimes the truth will out despite the best kept "secrets".

    The idea of teach first being a success is likely based on the acceptance that teaching is no longer a vocation but a temporary almost charitable gift to the less fortunate, although it is true that it is based on the US model I'm not so sure it is completely appropriate for the UK; since I always got the impression that when good teachers left it left a wave of disenchantment amongst students who had come to trust and value them. It takes a while to earn that trust so it staff turnover isn't really to be encouraged is it? Not to mention the recruitment costs each time someone decides to leave. Perhaps the goal should be "Teach Forever" *or at least have it as a goal; then don't you attract people to the profession who at least might want to be there and certainly aim to stay there? (Yes I know the TF retention rates aren't bad, but are they measuring who becomes a teaching professional and wants to stay in education as a career? If so their name is somewhat inappropriate).
    drek likes this.
  17. irs1054

    irs1054 Star commenter

    The notion of teaching being a vocation is one that ended when the monks stopped doing it and the headteacher of Rugby school started paying teachers decent wages. Teaching is a job just like any other job. People do it as a way of making a living, paying the bills, having a life.

    Unfortunately the idea of teaching as a vocation has hung over partly because some teachers are misguided enough to think that this will give them some kudos and they will somehow be rewarded. Instead of course, it just means teachers get trodden on.

    The idea of teaching as a vocation adds nothing to the profession, in fact it is the very antithesis of it being a profession. And yet, we still see teachers suckered in by this idea.

    The problem we have today is that we have a confused idea of what mass education is for and, as a result, a completely unrealistic set of expectations for education. This coupled with a government made up of a bunch of bozos, who have no economic literacy to speak of (witness the fiasco of Osborne's Financial Framework), means that the basis for a methodical improvement in the education system is totally absent.

    So many times in the past, teachers pay has been allowed to decline to the point that it threatened the very existence of the education system, followed by a bit of a catchup followed by yet another decline. Some of us remember the words of the government after Houghton "Never must the pay of teachers fall behind to this extent" and yet here we are in a situation where even if a graduate gets paid according to scale the starting salary is way behind the median for graduates generally. And many schools, it seems, are determined not to pay even this. Little wonder if would be teachers vote with their feet.

    This offer might sucker in some people but it is doubtful, in the current circumstances, if it will be many.
    drek and DYNAMO67 like this.
  18. cally1980

    cally1980 Established commenter

    Improving recruitment is like putting a plaster on a gaping knife wound. Why tempt them in if we cannot keep them beyond a few years? The continual process of retraining is going to collapse when there is no one left with any actual experience to train these new recruits. The focus MUST be on retention.
    needabreak and DYNAMO67 like this.
  19. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    Teaching is now a graduate starter job. It's very important for the Conservative Party that they provide employment to the spawn of their traditional demographic now that there are too many of them for nepotism to work effectively. Education can't be stripped of assets as effectively as the Health Service but they can certainly put it to some use.
    needabreak likes this.
  20. DYNAMO67

    DYNAMO67 Lead commenter

    One of the best things I have read on here. agree 100% I have said the same for years. I think that the idea of teaching be a vocation is singularly the biggest Achilles heel of too many teachers.

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