Pay primary teachers more?

John Howson

Should we pay primary teachers more than their secondary colleagues? Figures published today by the DfE show that the average primary class, mostly taught by one teacher, but often with assistance from a teaching assistant, is now 26.9 pupils in size, up from 26.3 in 2006; an increase of 3.6 pupils per teacher over the period. During the same time period the average class faced by a secondary teacher declined in size from 21.5 to 20.1; a reduction of 1.4 pupils per teacher. Thus, overall, primary teachers on average face classes 6.8 pupils larger than their secondary colleagues. Put another way, in July a Year 6 teacher has around a third more pupils to cope with than a Year 7 teacher with the same children the following September.

Of course, older children demand more attention, have more behaviour issues with adults, require teachers with more specialist knowledge, sometimes have a…

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