Teachers’ Pay to Reflect Pupil Performance
The Department of Education has recently come up with a radical new way to determine pay increases for all teachers. Up until now, teaching posts had an automatic pay rise policy wherein the length of employment would correlate to increments in pay.
But under the new guidelines, automatic annual pay rises would be scrapped. Instead, schools can take feedback and reviews from pupils into consideration before determining pay rises for teachers. The new rule is expected to come into effect in September 2014 for teachers working within England.
According to a spokesperson of the Department of Education, the new policy would allow head teachers and school governing bodies to consider teachers’ performance before determining pay rises and therefore pay more to the ‘best teachers’.
The policy is aimed at rewarding teachers that perform consistently well and thus encouraging good performance within the profession. The performance based pay system would allow teachers’ pay to be based not only on pupil performance, but also take into account feedback from parents, peer review and observations undertaken during classes etc.
Another interesting, rather controversial aspect of the new guidelines is that they altogether scrap the notion of pay scales that correlate with experience. So, a teacher applying for a new job would no longer be able to automatically expect their current pay scale to transfer to a new position, and may also have to accept pay lower than their existing salary.
Not surprisingly, teachers’ unions have not taken kindly to the new guidelines. The new rules would come into effect starting in September 2014 and already two of the biggest teachers’ unions have planned to go on strike later this year. The National Union of Teachers (NUT) as well as the NASUWT have already planned to take industrial action in July of this year in protest against these new regulations.
The intention behind scrapping national annual pay scales for teachers and introducing performance based pay in their stead is to drive consistently good performance, but according to the general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, there is no evidence to substantiate this.
- One view, especially among the National Union for Head Teachers is that while performance related pay reviews are a welcome step in improving teaching standards, scrapping national pay structures for teachers would be a risky and ill-timed move.
- Teachers’ unions argue that annual increment in pay has been a constant since the early 21st century and that this has been a major factor in encouraging graduates into teaching careers.
- Scrapping the very policy that attracts new talent to the profession at a time when teaching is already facing a decline may not only fail to meet the goals it is intended to, but rather deter people from entering the profession.
In an industry that is already struggling to attract new candidates, is this move on the part of the government a step too far?