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ew Performance Pay regime in schools

Derek McMillan

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This is a press release from STOPP - School Teachers Opposed to Performance Pay - 21 September 2006

Headteachers told to prepare for new Performance Pay regime in schools

On Friday, September 22nd, Education Secretary, Alan Johnson, is expected to make an announcement confirming the Government’s proposals for a new ‘performance management’ system, now likely to be introduced in 2007.

The advice already being given to Headteachers makes clear what the Government intends. Schools will be expected to introduce a rigorous system of individualised performance pay. In future, teachers who fail to reach their performance management targets can expect to be refused further progress up the pay spine.

The DfES’ consultation paper on performance management, released in June, had already spelt out the Government’s intentions that, in future, “financial rewards will go to those who are making the biggest contributions to improving pupil attainment” 2 Ministers have always seen performance pay as a vital part in their drive to “raise standards”. But STOPP has always explained that it will have the opposite effect.

Performance pay will dangerously undermine the teamwork and morale that is vital to a good school. Staff will opt for schools where results are easier to obtain. As the history books show, “payment by results” deadens education instead of enhancing it.

Teacher concerns at the Government’s original introduction of performance pay, which led to the building of STOPP, forced Ministers to tread carefully at first. Instead of severely rationing pay as many teachers feared, most successfully crossed the performance “threshold” 3 when it was first introduced. But, already, increasing numbers have found their progression to the top levels of the Upper Pay Spine being blocked. The new proposals introduce this threat to teachers at every spine point.

Briefings being conducted by “Head Support Limited” earlier this week have brutally confirmed STOPP’s analysis. Advice to Headteachers in training sessions in at least two South London Local Authorities included:

 That Heads needed to make more ‘robust’ pay decisions – and that, if they didn’t, OFSTED teams will want to know why.

 That the criteria of “substantial and sustained” achievement now used to judge Upper Pay Spine progression was too weak, harsher judgements were now required.

 That inexperienced teachers should not be allowed to progress up the main spine every year to make sure they do not have an expectation of crossing the ‘threshold’.

These threats are already provoking an angry response in staffrooms. For example, a meeting of the Lewisham 4 Association of the National Union of Teachers on Monday 18th , agreed to call on their Union to consider national strike action to oppose the imposition of performance pay. STOPP expects this demand to be widely supported.

1. STOPP was launched by teachers in 1999 in response to the introduction of performance management and the “threshold”. It organised a number of protest events, including a march and rally in London in February 2000.

2. Paragraph 7, ‘Performance management for Teachers and Headteachers’, DfES June 2006.

3. A “threshold” assessment has to be passed to go from the top of the main pay spine to the upper pay spine.

4. Lewisham was one of the Local Authorities where Heads have been briefed by “Head Support Limited”.

The title should have read "New". Ooops

Edited by Derek McMillan
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The title should have read "New". Ooops

But I think "ew" as a negative response akin to distaste isn't a bad second to "New".

I'm led to believe that our 'friends' in RIG unions, following their success in bidding down teachers' pay through TLRs, are 'on board' with this idea of more robust Performance-Related Pay (PRP).

Does anyone think that secretly the Labour Heirarchy is trying to promote the NUT (and similar less compliant unions) as a means to promote socialist revolution, and that the Left has misunderstood the Blair project all this time? :D

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