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John Simkin

Performance Related Pay

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Performance-related pay was heralded by the then education secretary, David Blunkett, in 1998, when he pledged that good teachers would potentially be able to earn up to £35,000 a year under the scheme, which gave them access to five new salary scales on the so-called "upper pay spine" once they had passed an agreed threshold.

Introduced in schools in England in 2000, the initiative prompted immediate accusations of divisiveness from teaching unions amid suggestions that only about half of teachers applying would meet the standards required. Ultimately 97% of applicants were successful, effectively creating a substantial across-the-board pay rise for teachers.

According to a survey carried out by Ted Wragg at Exeter University, the scheme has had virtually no effect on the way they teach in the classroom.

Most teachers surveyed for the analysis of performance-related pay in schools said that after going through the process required to secure a salary rise they were still teaching in exactly the same way, but they had improved their record-keeping to make their next application easier.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/922109.stm

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What is also clear is that once a UK teacher goes through point 2 of the upper pay scale PRP becomes an utter nonsense. There being no cash to fund a further incremental point regardless of whether the teacher meets their targets or not :lol: .

I believe it may be different for senior management and leadership teams however and that large bonuses are available for such staff if they meet their targets - seems hardly fair :lol:

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I believe it may be different for senior management and leadership teams however and that large bonuses are available for such staff if they meet their targets

Haven't seen any of this at our place! 'Bonuses' can only be awarded if the funding is there and, as you say, it isn't. :lol:

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I believe it may be different for senior management and leadership teams however and that large bonuses are available for such staff if they meet their targets

Haven't seen any of this at our place! 'Bonuses' can only be awarded if the funding is there and, as you say, it isn't. ;)

We'll have a whip round Maggie :lol::lol:

I have it on pretty reliable authority that it is a common enough practice elsewhere. (the bonuses not the whip round B) )

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I think one of the unique things about our profession is that there is no real way to teach someone how to teach or quantify the value of his/her instruction.

While I like figuring out a way to give the best or most dedicated teachers better pay and job security and letting slackers and ne'er-do-wells sweat it out I don't trust any system to do this without improperly rewarding and punishing in a grandiose manner.

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My dad was a teacher of History in Sheffield during the time when performance-related pay was called 'payment by results'. One year he had to teach French, despite never having been trained, and he was to have an inspector come round.

He coached the class in advance so that whenever the inspector asked a question, everyone put their hand up. However, if a pupil was sure that she knew the answer, she'd put her left hand up, and if she didn't know, or wasn't sure, she'd put her right hand up. Then my dad could pick the 'right' pupil to answer, and make sure that he picked a different one each time.

The inspector gave my dad a ringing endorsement and a pay rise …

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Performance Related Pay is wrong. A teacher's "performance" is a result of a number of factors not the least of which is the co-operation and support of other teachers. The idea of claiming personal credit for the performance of one of my pupils when I know damn well that it is a result of a team effort is wrong and it is one which teachers do not like.

Blunkett (or any other politician) had a problem with this as their trade involves stabbing each other in the back at every opportunity.

Have a nice day :unsure:

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Guest Andrew Moore

There is an emerging orthodoxy about what makes a good lesson. Behind this may lie some astute observations about how people learn. That's good.

But it's not good when it becomes a prescriptive template with its own neologisms or pretentious loan words, like "plenary" - if you want to say full, why do it in a classical language and treble the syllable count? No reason at all, unless you are insecure or want to baffle some people.

I might not quibble with real performance-related pay- if there were an obvious criterion of success. But the proposals are for pay to be related to someone's judgement of the teachers' performance.

Such a system would lead to disputes about teaching groups, or potential abuse of power, as some teachers ensure they have the pupils most likely to succeed.

Performance-related pay gives an incentive to teachers not to help each other, and for schools to withhold support from others. It also gives an incentive for inflation of grades: for years teachers sustained notional benchmarks in exams, because they felt no pressure to make everyone above average. (I know that makes no sense, but try telling some politicians.)

But it's profoundly unjust. In a real market, we can say that success is at least determined by the customers, who choose to shop here rather than there. But if supermarkets were like education, there would be inspectors making their own template of what a good supermarket is, and handing down their judgements, as authoritative, rather than letting the customers decide.

Beware of regional pay, too. The theory here is that it's cheaper in the north, so people need less money. But the reason it's cheaper is that fewer people want to be here. That is, the extra spending power is some consolation for the lack of amenities that Londoners enjoy. Having said that, in a time of shortages of teachers, then local flexibility might cause a bidding war, as each area tries to secure some of the dwindling pool of new entrants. Or maybe not...

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Some school teachers I am aware of are having some difficulty in getting coherent information from their respective Senior Leadership teams regarding threshold applications and procedures, and likewise for movement up the post threshold pay scale.

is it a requirement for all schools to have a clear and transparent policy on these issues. If you teach in a school were "senior feet are being dragged" what is the best course of action? :)

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I agree with a lot of what is being said here, but how DO you reward good teachers at the top of the pay scale in order to keep them in the classroom? We're struggling with this issue at the moment. Our DoE is suggesting a standards approach - 3 levels of professional standards, first for entry, second for probation and third for "excellence" or "accomplished". But, as you say, who does the judging? I've suggested the reward should be a choice of money or time off. We lose a lot of teachers when they get to the top of the scale and don't want promotion.

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