Meanwhile, the ludicrous Jim Knight, Schools Minister, has released a Good News Bulletin. He says:“Teaching is now one of the most sought after professions thanks to increases in the average teacher’s salary by 19% in real terms to an average of over £34,000; cuts bureaucracy and tougher disciplinary powers for staff.
First, let's note that last year the government spent [PDF] £41.5bn on schools in England. That's up from around £23bn in 1997-98, an increase of about 80%. Which is one whole shedload of money.
The bottom line? Just as they've dumbed down our exam system, Labour has also seriously dumbed down our school staff rooms.
In fact, the proportion of school staff who are full-time qualified teachers has plummeted from 69% in 1997 to a mere 49% now: a 20% drop which means that fewer than half the people now employed in schools to educate our kids are full-time qualified teachers...
Salaries up by 19% to an average of £34,000: that doesn't sound too shabby to me. I can quite see why one of their unions might be on strike, can't you? Anyway, do go and read the whole thing: it's depressing reading.
And naturally, our teachers were entirely deserving of this largesse; they've got... ooh... at least 19% better, eh? Er, apparently not. [Emphasis mine.]
A school is paying sixth-formers as young as 16 to teach lessons instead of hiring qualified supply staff. It has put a team of 24 A-level students on standby to fill in when regular teachers are away, paying them £5 for each 50-minute lesson they take. The headmistress says they do a better job than qualified adult teachers hired from supply agencies.