Extra salary for specialist teachers in an effort to make a career in education more attractive
In future teachers that are specialised in a particular field will be able to earn more. This is one of the measures that the Flemish Government has agreed in order to make a career in education a more attractive proposition. Many schools find it difficult to recruit suitable staff and staff shortages in schools have become a real issue. In addition to extra salary for specialist teachers, the Flemish Government’s proposals also include the creation of the position of Deputy Head in primary schools and efforts to get people from the world of industry and commerce into schools to teach.
The creation of the post of “specialist teacher” is by far the most noteworthy of the new measures. Currently a teacher that starts out in education in their early 20s knows how much they will earn throughout their entire career as their salary, like all other public sector salaries is determined by how long they have been in the job. They remain on the same pay scale for their entire career.
Under the new measures this will change. From now on teachers that have been in primary or secondary education for at least 10 years will be to take on a number of specific extra duties to become a teacher-specialist. In exchange they will receive around 250 euro/month extra salary. A “specialist teacher” mandate is for three years and can be extended by mutual agreement.
It will be up to schools to decide which members of staff are given this status. These will all be experienced teachers that have built up experience in particular fields, for example in teaching particularly difficult classes or in how best to help new teachers settle in.
In primary education a Head will in future be able to enlist the help of an “Assistant Head” to help will certain tasks involved with the running of the school. In addition to this all schools will be given extra support if a member of staff is absent for a long time.
An idea previously floated by the Flemish Education Minister Ben Weyts (nationalist) to enlist the services of “Guest teachers”, people from the world of commerce that come and teach lessons in schools, is also in the new Education Bill.
The guest teachers will be on the one hand people working in industry that have a teaching diploma and are looking for a new challenge. They can by “lent out” to schools by their employer. They maintain their salary and the school reimburses their company for the hours that they have spent teaching.
The second group of guest teachers is made up of people that don’t have a teaching diploma, but have expertise in a field that could be interesting for pupils. This group would be put to work up to 33% in schools. This measure will only remain in force for the next two years.
The Flemish Government hopes that the measures will go some way to addressing the issue of staff shortages in the short term. For the longer term the Flemish Government has set up a commission to come up with measure to make a career in education more attractive. It is due to report at the end of the year.