'Teachers are going job-hopping, even though they really want to stay. This causes a lot of unrest.'
'Teachers are going job-hopping, even though they really want to stay. This causes a lot of unrest.'

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A higher scale is only possible by changing schools

The fastest and most successful way to get into a higher scale is to switch schools. This leads to unstable teams and students who face a new teacher much more often than necessary. "I didn't want to leave at all, but it's terrible when you get served like that."

This has emerged from research by the Education magazine into higher salary scales, in which almost 1500 people participated. Teaching staff often struggle years in vain to get to the right scale. As a result, staff withdraw into the classroom, become overworked or even leave education.

The fastest and most successful way to reach that higher scale appears to be applying to another school. 'Teachers are going job-hopping, even though they really want to stay. This causes a lot of unrest for students', writes a secondary school teacher who has been 'stuck upstairs in LB for years'.

'I was just laughed at. If you want to get rich, you shouldn't be in educationsaid the management

“Once you work at a school, it is almost impossible to move up a scale,” says Esther*, Dutch teacher (her full name is known to the editors, ed.). At her first school, as an LB teacher, she was given more and more responsibilities, including section president, and received her first-degree license. When two colleagues who were paid in the higher salary scales LC and LD left, she asked for that higher salary scale. “I was just laughed at. "If you want to get rich, you shouldn't be in education," said the management. I felt overwhelmed by it, only later did I get angry.”

“I really enjoyed working with great students and in a fantastic team, but it's terrible when you are dismissed like this,” she continues. “I didn't feel valued at all and after that I had no choice but to look for another job.”

She could start immediately at another school, in LC. And when she moved to another region after a year, she started working at a high school in LD. So in two years she went from LB to LD. “I find it very unfortunate that schools no longer invest in their own people. It leads to high staff turnover, which only costs extra money and means that a lot of expertise is lost. A great sin.”

'The manager advised me to apply to another school to come to LC and then come back after a year. That's ridiculous, isn't it?'

Her experience is supported by many testimonials from all sectors: 'Last year, ten teachers, all with more than ten years of experience, left because they were fed up with the underhanded behaviour,' writes one teacher about the difficult process of moving up the ranks. Another: 'Now LC myself by giving up a nice workplace and switching to another school. Something I see happening more and more.' Another writes: 'The manager advised me to apply to another school to get into LC and then come back after a year. That's ridiculous, isn't it?' A team leader sees the dilemma from the other side: 'Having to disappoint people again and again because the budget is insufficient is horrible. People feel undervalued and passed over and walk away. I really think it's a worthless system.'


Ilse, a group 8 teacher at a primary school, can relate to that. She is doing a master's degree and is happily taking on more and more tasks. On the other hand, she was promised that she could apply to LC after a year, but that party fell through. “Colleagues from parallel classes did get the higher scale, but I was not allowed to compare myself with that, said the management. Meanwhile, my range of tasks continued to grow, when I indicated that I missed the principle of 'pay for work', the atmosphere became grimmer. I felt dismissed as a whiner and completely unrecognized. Eventually I didn't like that atmosphere anymore and came home sick. Now I work at another school where I am appreciated.”

'The quickest way is to have yourself marketed through a secondment agency', writes a director. A primary school teacher has experience with this. Within a year she went 'through secondment wanderings' from (former) L10, step 4 to L11, step 13, without having to prove anything. 'They go along with your argument more easily, as they should. When I went back to permanent employment, the school board followed the usual procedure: 1 step higher. I would like to move on to LD, but the criteria are hardly clear.'

'It feels so incredibly unfair when other colleagues get a higher scale and you don't'

Support staff also experience that it is easier to move up the ranks by switching schools. “It feels so incredibly unfair when other colleagues get a higher scale and you don't, while there is no good reason for that”, says an administrative employee. She worked at the same school in scale 4 for fourteen years, of which she had been in the highest step for years. When the school merged, colleagues ended up in scale 6. “I was told that everyone would be in scale 4 and afterwards I was too trusting. When I raised it, nothing was possible anymore. The way I was treated was wrong. I didn't feel heard and although I was having a great time, I didn't want to keep hoping for something more for another twenty years. I now work in scale 6 at another school. I find it very strange that there can be such differences in pay.”

Concierge Debby also struggles with that. From square watch to administrative work, to instructing groups and going to swimming lessons, she thinks her job is fantastic. “But I've been in scale 2 for years, I don't think that's right if you look at what I do. I've asked for a higher scale before, but I can't, while colleagues at other schools within the foundation are in scale 4. I've just applied now, because I'm cutting myself in the fingers if I stay. I find it exciting, but also a pity, because I really don't want to leave at all.”


For AObchairman Tamar van Gelder, these stories are yet another proof of bad employment practice. “I don't know what excuses they use to explain this, but excuses they are. Employers are apparently unable to conduct a good strategic personnel policy in which development, career and professionalization of teachers are an important part. That's why teachers run into a door when they want to make a career in the classroom. Do you think it's crazy that we have a teacher shortage!?"

* The full names of the interviewees are known to the editors.

An insufficient budget and having to apply for a job in a higher scale are all 'wonderful own policy of schools', says Roelf van de Ploeg, job evaluation expert at the AOb. Read more about the excuses for not putting you in a higher salary scale and what you can do about it.


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