Local teachers quiz Education Secretary

Local teachers quiz Education Secretary

Local MP presses Nicky Morgan again on teacher’s pay

Issues ranging from funding for 16-18 year olds, the pace of change in GCSEs and A Levels and the importance of design and technology subjects were among those raised when Secretary of State for Education Nicky Morgan MP visited Brentford this week.

The Secretary of State was at Brentford School for Girls answering questions from an audience of teachers and school governors. She was accompanied by local MP Mary Macleod and the discussion was chaired by former BBC correspondent Torin Douglas MBE, who lives in Chiswick.

Some of the questions asked included:

  • Marais Leenders, head teacher of Brentford School for Girls, asked the Secretary of State if more could be done to encourage people into teaching to ease the recruitment challenges schools are facing.
  • Mark Hudson, head teacher of Kew House School also identified the particular need for specialist teachers in subjects like Physics, Maths and Design & Technology.
  • Local student Dunja Relić, one of London’s Youth Parliament representatives, asked about the emphasis on ‘curriculum for life’ subjects, like financial budgeting and interview skills, that are so important when applying for jobs, something that the Secretary of State is keen to strengthen in the future.

Ms Morgan said that the Department for Education is aware of these challenges, particularly as the economy improves and some would-be teachers are attracted into other careers. She said that the Government is focusing effort on increasing the professional standing of teaching as a career through the College of Teaching and also encouraging more people to consider teaching as a second career.

There was also a general consensus in the room about the issue that teachers in the Hounslow borough are not paid an Inner London salary. Teachers in neighbouring Ealing borough do qualify for the Inner London salary, but teachers in Hounslow are paid less. Mary has been campaigning to change this and again pressed the Secretary of State on the matter.

Mrs Morgan said:

"I know we all agree on how important it is for every child to have a good school with rigorous academic standards and I want to thank you for all you do to help us achieve that. We've seen a lot of changes in education in the last few years but these are all designed to improve the education we offer our young people.”

Mary said:

“I believe we are all united in our aim to continually improve the education we offer in our schools. Head teachers, teachers and support staff all play such a vital role. It’s important we listen to your views and concerns as well as those of local businesses so we equip our young people to meet the challenges of the future. That’s why I am pressing the Education Secretary to ensure technology subjects form a significant part of student’s studies, and that our teachers are paid a fair wage in London – whichever Borough they choose to work within.
The Education Secretary’s visit comes as she recently announced renewed emphasis on English and Maths in the curriculum, as well as plans to approve more than 50 new free schools.