The truth behind performance related pay

Performance related pay is just one of the many factors causing some teaching unions to launch waves of strikes. What they don’t actually look into is what this might mean for wages. Let’s take a good look at them and see what those who went on strike think about it.

The best-performing teachers could earn higher wages within a much quicker time frame than under a time-based system, according to research by the right-leaning thinktank. But implementation must be fair, transparent and reward real excellence, it said. In a paper released on Friday , the thinktank welcomes the move, which came into effect in September, but recommends the system include an evaluation based on several measures, not just test or exam scores. Financial rewards should be based on increases in base salary, rather than through bonuses, and performance-related pay must be used as a real reward for excellence and not as a way of holding down the overall pay bill, it said.

So what wages can you earn as a teacher at present? Well, qualified teachers in maintained schools currently earn a minimum of £21,804, or £27,270 in inner London. Senior teachers can make up to £57,520, or £64,677 in the capital, while headteachers can expect a salary of between £42,803 and £113,303. What we can see from this is that the longer you are teaching, the more you earn up to the point you retire.

Under a performance-related pay system, rather than a time-based system, teachers would be able to earn up to £70,000 a year within an estimated five to eight years compared with 12 years to reach a salary of £52,000. This could attract more graduates to the profession, driving up the quality of teaching in schools. What this actually means is that teachers could earn a greater amount of money within a shorter time frame, so long as they perform at the level they are capable of. Am I mistaken or wasn’t ‘pay and conditions’ cited as the reason for all these strikes? I wonder if any teacher who went on strike actually thought about this.

Despite vocal objections from unions, most teachers welcome the principle behind it. A YouGov poll for the report published in September found that 89% of teachers want to be paid based on the quality of their teaching.

Jonathan Simons, head of education at Policy Exchange, said teachers should be treated like professionals, and schools allowed flexibility to reward their best teachers. “That’s why we believe that performance-related pay is necessary in English schools, and why we think so much of the ideological opposition to the reforms is misguided. But we agree with the thoughtful teachers who support this in principle but are cautious about how it will be implemented. To see the benefits we need to have a carefully designed system that works properly and which is transparent and fair.”

We are of course yet to see how this system will work as it is only entering it’s 5th month of activity so we’re yet to see any results. What will be interesting is how many of these unions will regret the disruption and carnage that they caused to our profession’s reputation with all this industrial action when they find their wages have gone up! If we truly are performing well as teachers, we will earn more, and why shouldn’t we. The best deserve more money. I’m not motivated by money but I certainly would want be paid more if I was a teacher who gets results than a teacher who doesn’t, although I can definitely see a sense of rivalry developing in the staff room.


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