Performance-related pay ‘could take teacher earnings to £70k’

3 Jan 14
Top teachers could earn as much as £70,000 a year under the government’s performance-related pay regime, an analysis of the scheme has found

By Richard Johnstone | 3 January 2014

Top teachers could earn as much as £70,000 a year under the government’s performance-related pay regime, an analysis of the scheme has found.

The Policy Exchange think-tank today welcomed last September’s introduction of pay based on teacher performance, but said implementation must be fair, transparent and used to reward excellence.

Under the scheme, teacher pay can rise to £70,000 from the current minimum level of £21,804 (or £27,270 in inner London) within five to eight years, the think-tank said. This is quicker than teachers could reach the previous top pay level of £64,677 in London and £57,520 outside the capital.

These changes could attract high-performing graduates to the profession, which would drive up the quality of teaching in schools across the country, Jonathan Simons, report editor and head of education at Policy Exchange, said. 

‘We want to treat teachers like professionals. And we want schools to have the flexibility to reward and retain their best teachers and to use them to improve outcomes for young people. That’s why we believe that performance pay is necessary in English schools, and why we think so much of the ideological opposition to the reforms is misguided.’

Despite trade union opposition to the plan, a poll of 1,002 primary and secondary school teachers in England and Wales undertaken for the report found 89% wanted pay to be based on the quality of their teaching.

However, The introduction of performance-related pay for all teachers in English schools report stressed the system must be fair and transparent. 

This should include an evaluation of teacher performance based on several measures, not just test or exam scores. Assessments must also take place over more than one year to reduce volatility in results. 

Ensuring that good performance can be rewarded is likely to require schools to redesign teacher pay bands, and report author Matthew Robb said schools needed guidance and templates to introduce the new system successfully.

‘The critical area to get right is not just changes to pay but also high quality, developmentally oriented, performance assessment and appraisal,’ he said.

But teaching unions criticised the report. 

Kevin Courtney, deputy general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said it was ‘misleading’ to claim that 89% of teachers back performance-related pay.

He added that teachers were actually asked if they believe that ‘quality of teaching’ should drive pay and progression. 

‘The majority of teachers would answer yes to this question as that is exactly what happens at present with teachers only moving up the pay scale if they have performed to the satisfaction of the school leadership,’ he said.

‘What Policy Exchange continues to resist telling people is that just 2% of respondents in the same poll felt it “significantly more likely” they would choose to work in a school where performance-related pay was actually introduced.’

The Association of Teachers and Lecturers called the report ‘flawed and disingenuous’.

General secretary Mary Bousted said: ‘The best way to improve children’s education is to invest in high quality initial and continuous training for teachers and other education staff.

‘Instead, performance related pay risks damaging children’s education by putting off the best and brightest students from becoming teachers and demotivating current teachers.’


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