Teresa May has made it clear that she is not budging on the public sector pay cap, and while I agree it would be unfair to raise wages for teachers and not those in other public areas of service such as the NHS and policing, the effects of this bull-headed decision will be long lasting.
Teachers are constantly fighting an uphill battle when it comes to earning, the first is earning respect. Too often teaching is seen as a fall back profession that anyone could do. Teachers know this couldn’t be further from the truth, but couple that public image of supposed career failure with wages that are 15% under inflation since 2010 (The Guardian 11 July ), who would actually want to become a teacher in this current climate?
Sadly, children learn from those around them and if people in general don’t respect teachers, neither will they. Attitudes and outlooks on learning have a direct impact on how children achieve academically. A student’s behavior can affect his or her ability to learn as well as impact the learning environment for other students. A 2010 study published in the American Economic Journal: Applied Economics found that disruptive students can lower the test scores and academic achievement of an entire classroom.
This slow degradation within education standards is already being realized evidenced in a study from the University and College Union revealing that the UK is one of the least educated nations in the developed world and that its position has worsened considerably since 1995.
So to return to my main contention, why the pay cap is damaging schools, is that by not raising it or getting rid of it entirely, it shows an underlying issue, that our society currently does not value education enough to invest in it.
Breaking down the expenditure of the last fiscal year, 11% of government budget went to education, nearly double that went to social security. So the question I direct towards Mrs. May is this; what is going to cost the government more in the long run? A fair raise for all those in public service now, or breeding a culture of people dependent on the govt for the rest of their lives, unable to contribute to the economy due to insufficient skills directly linked to poor standards in education?
In the end, education is about developing the generation of tomorrow and if we want to stand a chance in a post Brexit economy, (out of the single market) we better make sure we are training the youth adequately so that they, at the very least, stand a chance. Politicising education needs to stop, we need to come together as citizens of the United Kingdom and be united on fundamental principles that guide instruction. Fair tuition, balanced instruction and hopefully through better pay and attractive job opportunities bring back respect into the most undervalued of professions.