Anger over scheme to ‘deregulate pay’ for teachers

THE GOVERNMENT is on a fresh collision course with teaching
unions after confirming it is
pressing ahead with plans to link pay to performance in the classroom.

Under the changes, teachers will no longer receive automatic annual pay rises, but will get annual appraisals with schools deciding on salary levels.

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

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Leading teaching unions condemned the plans, arguing they will further lower teacher morale and lead to unfairness.

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

In a letter to Dame Patricia Hodgson yesterday, confirming the Government is accepting the plans, Mr Gove said: “I am clear that these changes will give schools greater freedom to develop pay policies that are tailored to their school’s needs and circumstances and to reward their teachers in line with their performance.”

Teaching unions have previously vowed to campaign against any attempt to remove national pay structures, suggesting such a move would cut teachers’ salaries and leave some schools, especially those in deprived areas, struggling to recruit good staff.

Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers (NUT), said “Teachers will be dismayed that Michael Gove is pressing ahead with his plans to dismantle the national teacher pay structure.

“It will certainly worsen teacher morale which, as shown in a recent YouGov survey commissioned by the NUT, is already low.”

She added that performance-related pay was “fundamentally inappropriate” for teaching.

Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT teaching union, said: “From now on the only pay existing teachers can expect is the salary they are on. New entrants to the profession can aspire no higher than their starting salary.

“At a time of severe economic austerity and where there is already stark evidence that schools are using existing pay flexibilities to deny teachers pay progression, however well they perform, the claim that these recommendations will result in good teachers being paid more is risible.”