Performance Related Pay

Like many teachers in the UK, I’m starting back this week under new legislation. One of the more significant ones is performance-related pay.

This year, UK state schools have to adopt a new policy that will set out how performance related pay will work. Up until September 2013 we have been working under a regime where teachers move up a national pay spine if they are successful in their performance management, but now schools have more flexibility – the pay spine has been replaced with a ‘pay range’, with the points on it being more for guidance than a yearly progression. In addition, a greater responsibility has been placed upon Governing bodies to make sure teachers are paid according to the policy that their school has adopted.

There are a wide range of implications with this new legislation, such as teachers not being able to guarantee their current pay when they move schools, or schools being able to offer more money to highly competent teachers irrespective of their years of service. I’m sure these implications will play out in big ways and little ways, in minor successes and personal tragedies over the next few years.

My main concern, however, is not the pay that us teachers get, but it is the impact on the education of our country. Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Education has put government money into the Education Endowment Fund. But it is the same Education Endowment Fund, hosting the results from the Sutton Trust report, that tells us that performance related pay has zero impact on education for a moderate cost. My question: why put money into something that has zero impact?

Moreover the implications on Governing bodies are serious. Most governing bodies are made up of well meaning private individuals who want to make a contribution to society. I can imagine many of these governors may have some serious concerns about taking over the responsibility for the pay of teachers – a responsibility that had previously been held nationally in the Teachers Pay and Conditions Document. My fear is that many of these well meaning governors will step aside over the next few years, leaving a governance vacuum. And who could fill this vacuum? Academy Sponsors are an obvious choice. So could it be that with this policy we end up with an education system that costs more, is less good but has more academies?

5 thoughts on “Performance Related Pay”

  1. Governors? In my school, it’s the Head that rules, and she’ll use PRP as a weapon to attack the teachers she feels aren’t up to the mark. The governors will just rubber-stamp whatever decision she makes.

    1. I suppose it depends on the size and ethos of the school. My school is small (12 teachers) and my headteacher is officially a nice man. When we had the PRP training we all looked at each other and thought let’s just keep the policy the same as it already is. My suspicion is that in larger schools, teachers are just fractional parts of the Whole-That-Is-The-School, not individuals, and the lowest common denominator is pay.

  2. In response to the writer’s concerns about the affect on the education of the country, new research has actually shown that the vast majority of GCSE teachers in England disagree strongly with the following statement:

    Paying teachers based on performance in exams will result in a better education system in terms of providing students who are prepared for further study or the workplace.

    In fact, on a scale of 1-10, half said ‘1’ and 79% said 1-3. The research in full, which was carried out by a partner of the Prince’s Teaching Institute, can be found here: http://educationmarketresearchuk.com/gcse-teachers-are-against-performance-related-pay/

    1. I wonder what teachers do think pay based on performance in exams will cause? More cheating perhaps? It is certainly interesting research.

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