Gove told to ditch plans for pay linked to results

Education Secretary Michael Gove
Education Secretary Michael Gove
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TEACHERS have called on ministers to ditch plans to link their pay to performance in the classroom.

There is “no evidence” that the move will work, or that teachers will work better with “stagnant career prospects”, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) said.

Delegates at the union’s annual conference in Liverpool passed a priority resolution yesterday which opposes the dismantling of the teachers’ national pay structure, and the decision to extend a one per cent pay cap on teachers’ pay.

The cap will “depress teachers’ living standards and fail to recruit the brightest and the best to the profession”, the resolution said.

It called on the union’s executive to “lobby the government and the opposition to reinstate a national pay structure for teachers and restore teachers’ pay in line with inflation”.

Proposing the motion, ATL’s junior vice president Mark Baker said: “There is no evidence that performance-related pay works for a profession that has far higher ideals.

“There is no evidence that professionals work better with stagnant career prospects. There is no evidence that morale is maintained through cutting pay.”

Mr Baker claimed that the move will “thwart teachers’ aspirations” and “offer leaders the opportunity to reward friends”.

“It’s not based upon real performance or any addition to a child’s learning but on subservience and compliance,” he added.

Ministers confirmed in January that they are pressing ahead with performance-related pay.

Under the changes, which are expected to come into full effect next year, teachers will no longer receive automatic annual pay rises, but will get annual appraisals, with schools deciding on salary levels.

Education Secretary Michael Gove has insisted that the move will give schools greater freedom over teachers’ pay, and help them recruit the best staff.

The proposals, put forward by the School Teachers Review Body (STRB), are effectively an almost complete deregulation of teachers’ pay and a move away from national pay structures.

The changes cover pay for classroom teachers in England and Wales, and do not include school leaders such as head teachers and deputy or assistant heads.

Speaking ahead of the debate, ATL general secretary Dr Mary Bousted said: “We have the coalition government’s policy to dismantle national pay structures for teachers which will have a catastrophic effect on recruitment and retention of teachers.”

She added: “We’re going to have the spectre of 23,500 schools creating their own pay structures. School leaders, rather than concentrating on teaching and learning will be concentrating on pay structures.”

A Department for Education spokeswoman said: “We want to make it easier for schools to reward good performance and attract and retain those teachers who have the greatest impact on their pupils’ achievements.

“This will be much fairer than the current arrangements which see the vast majority of teachers automatically getting a pay rise each year.

“We do not think it is fair that a highly effective new entrant, for example, should be paid less than their long-serving but less effective peer.”

ATL’s resolution comes the week after the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the NASUWT announced that they are planning a national walkout this autumn, potentially closing thousands of schools.

The move comes amid a deepening row over pay, pensions and workload.

The two unions said they are planning a rolling programme of strikes, beginning in the North West on June 27.

More strikes are set to follow in the autumn term, with the stage set for a national strike before Christmas.