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Education Minister to face States telling off

Education Minister to face States telling off

Thursday 02 February 2017

Education Minister to face States telling off

Thursday 02 February 2017

Jersey's Education Minister could be put in 'detention' following claims that gave his colleagues misleading information about teachers' pay.

A 'Vote of Censure' is being brought against Deputy Rod Bryans, making it the third time in recent weeks that a member of the Council of Ministers has had their leadership brought into question.

Senator Philip Ozouf resigned, but the States Employment Board - led by the Chief Minister - survived its vote of no confidence. 

Now, Deputy Geoff Southern, himself a former teacher, alleges that the Education Minister told the States newly qualified teachers (NQTs) earn £16,000 more on average than their UK counterparts.

He argues that information is misleading, stating that the Minister had compared the highest possible Jersey starting salary (£38,296) with England and Wales’ lowest (£22,244) to calculate the 70% difference. He maintains that the figures did not constitute a "like for like" comparison, with Jersey living costs around 20% higher than the UK according to the Statistics Unit.

NQT_figs.jpegPictured: An extract from Deputy Southern's Vote of Censure report.

During the Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) debate, Deputy Bryans had argued that even by shaving £8,000 from NQT salaries would mean they were, "...still 9% higher than the rate for teachers in inner London" - another fact disputed by Deputy Southern, who says that the pay cut will leave Jersey educational professionals below the inner London threshold.

"This removes any incentive for NQTs to come to Jersey," he wrote. It's a view supported by the Jersey NUT, who recently launched a petition against the cuts, which has gained more than 2,000 signatures so far.

geoff_southern.pngPictured: Deputy Geoff Southern, who lodged the proposition.

The Minister, however, had argued that the calculations were correct because most Jersey teachers start on a higher pay scale.

In October last year, he said: "In practice, all newly qualified teachers in Jersey start on entry point 3, which is £38,296. This is the actual starting wage. Points 1 and 2 have not been used for more than four years because of the requirement for our teachers to have a degree at the 2:2 grade or above."

Deputy Southern's Vote of Censure proposition is expected to be debated within the coming weeks.

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