Belfast Telegraph

No decline in quality of graduates entering teaching despite pay squeeze

Public sector pay has fallen in recent years compared with private companies, but it has not affected the qualifications of graduates entering teaching and health jobs, a study has found.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies said there has been little change in the educational achievement of new graduate entrants to the two occupations over the last Parliament.

Despite the recent squeeze on pay, the average educational achievement of new graduate entrants to teaching has been steady, said the report.

Amongst individuals who left university in 2014-15, the average A-Level results amongst those who went into teaching was equivalent to three A-levels and an AS level at grade B.

New trainee teachers with a degree in physics, maths, computing and modern foreign languages have average A-Level results well above the average for both teachers and graduates as a whole, said the report.

Luke Sibieta, one of the report's authors, said: "Despite the squeeze on the pay and pensions of public sector workers since 2010, there has been no decline in the prior educational achievement of graduates going into teaching or health occupations.

"However, between 2015 and 2020 public sector pay is set to decline more rapidly relative to that in the private sector.

"It is hard to believe this won't affect the willingness of highly-qualified individuals to choose these occupations."

Unison's head of health Christina McAnea said: "Public services may be recruiting the best qualified staff now but this may not be the case in future.

"Without decent pay the next generation won't want to work in the NHS.

"That means fewer nurses and carers when we need them most."