Pay teachers more to improve social mobility, says inequality tsar

Alan Milburn

Teachers must be paid more and incentivised to move to areas with failing schools to improve social mobility, according to inequality tsar Alan Milburn.

Milburn, the chairman of the social mobility commission, has said that starting salaries for teachers should be on par with other graduate professions, as improving the quality of teaching is the biggest thing the government could do to deal with inequality.

He advised that teachers should be enticed into challenging schools through incentives such as state support to buy their own homes. Milburn also recommended a zero-tolerance approach to failure in schools, saying that they should become parts of academy chains if they do not meet minimum standards.

Milburn said: “I’m fed up with state schools in disadvantaged areas letting down the poorest pupils. I’m fed up with it in my area in the north-east, I’m fed up with it in Derby and Hull and towns and cities across the country. I’ve seen regimes come and go and none make a blind difference. It is intolerable and we keep making the same mistakes year after year after year. So let’s cut to the chase.

“If you’re asking me what is the one thing that would make the single biggest difference, we know that it’s the quality of teaching. It is by far the biggest thing. We know from other studies the difference between good quality teaching and less good teaching is one year of learning for a poor child. We have got to find a way to encourage good teachers into the worst schools.”

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