Quoted monthly figure does not include benefits, allowances The head of the English Schools Foundation has accused its teachers of misleading the public with a salary figure they have quoted in an advertisement today. The Association of Professional Teachers of ESF Schools claims in the South China Morning Post advert that the average salary is $39,024 a month, a far cry from the total annual package of $947,400 quoted in last year's audit report. 'For an average monthly salary of $39,024, this is what ESF teachers provide,' it states, adding that this was based on the monthly median sourced from the ESF salary scale. The advertisement has been placed to lobby support before the foundation's executive committee meets today to discuss the final package to be offered to teachers after a one-month consultation over plans to cut pay and benefits 10 per cent. But chief executive Heather Du Quesnay said: 'It does not bear any relation to the figures we have concerning basic pay.' She said the average pay for teachers was $47,800, with 78 per cent on the top level of the basic pay scale earning $51,911 a month. This did not include incentive allowances to 68 per cent of teachers for extra responsibilities, 25 per cent gratuity, and other benefits such as housing and education. The average value of the total package was around $910,000 a year, Ms Du Quesnay said. 'I do think [the ad] is rather misleading,' she said. 'It is unfortunate to put new figures into the public domain at this late stage, and to quote the mid-point of the scale that does not bear any relation to actual pay.' Association chairman Julian Harniess said his organisation used the mid-point in the salary scale, which ranges from $29,651 to $51,911 a month, to arrive at its average figure. 'Benefits and incentive allowances were excluded because these varied between teachers. At least people can get an idea of the mid-point base rate people earn,' he said. The advertisement was 'to inform or remind people just what it is ESF teachers provide academically and socially'. The fact that the government had been forced to improve conditions for native English-speaking teachers (NETs) in local schools was a lesson for the ESF. 'They thought they could get something for less, but that proved to be a misjudgment,' Mr Harniess said. 'It is the same here. The ESF thinks it can pay less and get the same. But I think it would be difficult to recruit and retain the quality staff they want.' Ms Du Quesnay was unperturbed by an improved NET package handed to legislators yesterday. 'Our package is still more generous than the NET's,' she said. And at around 10 per cent, the ESF also had a far lower turnover than the NET scheme.