Who earns what in teaching ?
THE OECD’s recent Education at a Glance survey says that Irish teachers are the fourth-highest-paid among the organisation’s 34 member countries. Only Luxembourg, Germany and Canada pay their teachers more.
That was the situation in 2009-2010. Since the publication of the report there has been some bickering over the figures. The Department of Education claims the figures reflect, at least in part, the cuts to pay and pensions implemented in 2010. The OECD figures do not include allowances paid to teachers, which can add at least 10 per cent to pay.
What’s indisputable is that the percentage of the total education budget absorbed by pay and pensions is higher in Ireland, at 71 per cent, than the OECD average, of 62 per cent.
In fairness to teachers, the OECD figures don’t take other cuts, such as the pension levy, which averages almost 8 per cent, into account because of its focus on gross salaries.
So back to the original question: what do teachers earn?
Let’s take the bulk of the teaching population first: those who entered the profession before January last year. Most newly qualified teachers at second level started on basic salaries of €33,041, or point 3 on the salary scale. (Primary teachers start on point 2.) They were also entitled to a qualification allowance of (generally) €6,154. So a newly qualified secondary teacher who started before January 2011 would have had a total gross salary of €39,195. (The starting salary at primary level would typically have been €36,890.)
From there the pay scale rises in increments of a little more than €1,000 a year. By year 15, teachers are on salaries of a little under €50,000. Then payments stay the same for a number of years, rising every five years or so. By 25 years, teachers are earning just over €59,000 in gross salary. So a teacher on this scale, after 15 years of experience, with the qualification allowance and special duties in the form of a post of responsibility for which they receive €3,769, would probably be earning more than €59,000. There would also be extra earning capacity for secondary teachers through substitution and supervision, work with the State exams and so on.
Allowances for posts of responsibility increase with the level of responsibility. An assistant principal will receive €8,520 extra, for example. (The moratorium on posts of responsibility means that, apart from some exceptional circumstances, schools have been unable to appoint new people to these since 2009.)
With established teachers protected by the Croke Park agreement, new teachers have born the brunt of the cuts to teachers’ pay. Last week the Government formalised a series of cuts for new entrants, in the process creating a two-tier teaching profession.
Under the new rules, new entrants will start at point 4 of the salary scale – €30,702 – but they will not be eligible for qualification allowances. They also have the option of being paid a pensionable allowance of €1,592 for supervision and substitution, which will bring their starting salary to €32,294. To qualify for this supervision and substitution allowance, new entrants will have to provide 12 additional hours a year over and above the existing requirement. Therefore a newly qualified teacher this year has a maximum earning capacity of €32,294 before tax, in contrast to the more than €39,000 that the class of 2010 earned in their first year.