Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Fear of Performance Pay May Be Dwindling

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Fear of Performance Pay May Be Dwindling

Article excerpt

Half of teachers polled think salary should be linked to exam results

In countries from India to Sweden, policymakers are increasingly turning to performance-related pay for teachers as a means of driving up educational attainment.

So far, governments have largely shied away from setting pay purely on the basis of exam performance, preferring to rely on a wider range of factors. But a landmark survey published today reveals that in England more than half of teachers actually want their pay rises to be dependent on their students' results.

The research, commissioned by social mobility charity the Sutton Trust, shows that the most popular criteria for deciding pay progression are assessments by senior colleagues (backed by 60 per cent) or by headteachers (54 per cent).

However, 53 per cent of the 1,100 teachers surveyed said their pay should be decided by "considering the progress and results of pupils they currently teach" - more than the 47 per cent who said pay should be based on length of service.

Perhaps surprisingly, one in 10 teachers took the view that pupils' evaluation of their performance in the classroom should also be factored into pay decisions, rising to 14 per cent among secondary staff.

Performance pay for teachers, which will be introduced in England in September, has proved to be highly controversial and has been fiercely opposed by classroom unions. The reforms, designed to prevent teachers from receiving automatic incremental pay rises and to give schools the flexibility to pay their best teachers more, have sparked national and regional strikes. The NUT has threatened to hold a further national strike over pay, pensions and working conditions on 10 July.

But although the Department for Education has argued that tying teachers' pay to classroom performance will improve educational standards, it has held back from advising schools to directly peg pay rises to exam performance, instead allowing institutions to choose their own criteria.

Right-leaning thinktank Policy Exchange has also urged schools to base pay decisions on a "balanced scorecard" of measures.

Sutton Trust chair Sir Peter Lampl said the results of the survey revealed a "positive response by a majority of teachers to performance-related pay, based on senior staff assessment and pupil progress".

"Sutton Trust research has shown evidence from the UK and the US that there is a significant correlation between teacher evaluations and exam results," Sir Peter said. …

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