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Former Schools Minister Insists Teachers Must Be Paid More To Avert Staffing Crisis

Nick Gibb (Alamy)

2 min read

Nick Gibb, the long-standing former schools minister, has said pay will have to increase to address acute teacher shortages.

Gibb, who served as schools minister for all but three of the last 13 years before standing down last month, called for teachers to be “properly rewarded”. 

“I do think we have to pay teachers properly. I really do, we need a properly well-rewarded teaching profession. I am pleased we were able to give a 6 per cent pay rise this year on top of 5.4 per cent last year because if you struggle to recruit there’s only one real answer,” he said in an interview first published by the i newspaper

Asked directly if teachers should receive more, he pointed out that less than a fifth of the number of physics teachers needed were recruited last year. 

“If you are only recruiting 17 per cent of your target for physics teachers then clearly something has to move,” he added.  

The 63-year-old spoke of his pride at turning round England’s performance in international educational league tables over a record stint that saw him cover the schools brief from 2005 to last month with just two short breaks. 

Gibb, who is standing down at the next election, also admitted he would have “loved” to be education secretary but that he failed to play the “political game” partly because he was gay in an era where that was “not accepted”. 

“I am not that interested in politics as a game, the gossip and so on. I am interested in ideas and what makes the country better and that is not how you get on in politics. The other thing is that being gay in the era I was coming of age was not accepted in the professions or politics. Michael [Simmonds, now his husband] and I’s relationship was always very private. We didn’t tell our own families or parents. I didn’t get invited to dinner parties and even if I did I didn’t want to go.” 

He said that Michael Gove, while a “white knuckle ride”, was an “absolute joy” and his favourite boss. He wouldn’t be drawn on his least favourite. 

Gibb was in post during the covid era when Gavin Williamson signed off a computer-driven modification of A-level grades found to most punish schools in areas of deprivation. 

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