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Competition for Private and State School Teachers

Green, Francis and Machin, Stephen and Murphy, Richard and Zhu, Yu (2008) Competition for Private and State School Teachers. Discussion paper. London School of Economics, Centre for Economics of Education, Discussion Paper. (KAR id:4841)


Executive Summary Private schools have historically played an important role in the reproduction of the ruling classes in Britain. They continue to do so, but there is surprisingly little modern research as to how these schools impinge on the economy. In this paper we analyse the role of independent schools in the teachers’ labour market. Teacher shortages in maintained schools are a recurring problem. A potentially relevant factor that has arisen in recent years is rising competition in the teachers’ labour market from independent schools. There has been a huge increase in the demand for education and in particular a rising willingness of the better-off to pay for academic credentials. The fees that better-off parents are prepared to pay for private educational advantage have more than doubled in real terms over the last twenty years, and the average cost of a full private education for a child in day school now reaches six figures, and approximately a quarter of a million pounds for a boarder. The nominal fees have risen by 6% or more every year since 2000. These incomes have given independent schools the means to deploy ever more teaching staff per pupil. We examine the changing quantity and quality of teaching staff in the independent sector, relative to that in the state sector, over the past two decades of rising demand for education. We find that independent schools are employing a disproportionate share of teachers in Britain, relative to the number of pupils they educate, and that the gap between the independent and state sector has been increasing. Independent school teachers are more likely than state school teachers to possess post-graduate qualifications, and to be specialists in shortage subjects. Recruitment from the state sector is an especially important source of new teaching staff for independent schools which has been growing over the medium term. The flows into the independent sector of both newly qualified and experienced teachers, trained at the state’s expense, constitute a small though increasing deduction from the supply of new teachers available to state schools. Inter-sectoral flows depend on the attractions of jobs and accordingly we also investigate how working conditions and wages vary between the sectors and over time. Independent school teachers work with fewer pupils and enjoy longer holidays and, in the case of women, shorter weekly hours. The level of job satisfaction over hours and the work itself was higher in private schools in the early to mid 1990s, but there is evidence of some convergence in job satisfaction since then. Among women, pay is lower in the private sector, which we interpret as a compensating differential. For men, there is no significant inter-sectoral difference in pay. However, for both men and women there is evidence of a substantial pay premium for independent-school teachers trained in shortage subjects.

Item Type: Reports and Papers (Discussion paper)
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Economics
Depositing User: G.F. Green
Date Deposited: 24 Jul 2008 13:30 UTC
Last Modified: 07 Feb 2024 15:05 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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Green, Francis.

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Zhu, Yu.

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