Review body recommends freedom on teacher performance pay

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An independent review body has called on the Government to link teachers’ pay more closely to their performance.

The School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB), which makes recommendations to Government on teachers’ pay reforms, is calling for greater freedom for schools to set teachers’ pay.

In its report it recommends a simpler, more flexible national pay framework for teachers. Taking on board international evidence and views from Government, employers, and teacher and head teacher unions, it proposes:

The key recommendations in the STRB’s report are:

  • Replacement of increments based on length of service by differentiated progression through the main pay scale to reward excellence and performance improvement.
  • Extension to all teachers of pay progression linked to annual appraisal (which is already established for more senior teachers). Appraisal should be against a single set of teaching standards, and individual objectives, with a strong emphasis on professional development.
  • Abolition of mandatory pay points within the pay scales for classroom teachers, to enable individual pay decisions, but with retention at present of points for reference only in the main pay scale, to guide career expectations for entrants to the profession.
  • Retention of a broad national framework, including the higher pay bands for London and fringe areas and an upper pay scale as a career path for experienced teachers who make a wider contribution to the school.
  • Replacement of the unnecessarily detailed threshold test for progression from the main to the upper pay scale, with simple criteria based on one set of teacher standards. This will create a consistent progression path from graduate entry to the top of the upper pay scale and allow schools to promote the best teachers more rapidly.
  • Local flexibility for schools to create posts paying salaries above the upper pay scale, enabling some of the very best teachers to remain in the classroom and lead the improvement of teaching skills.
  • More discretion for schools in the use of allowances for recruitment and retention and freedom to pay fixed-term responsibility allowances of up to £2,500 a year for time-limited projects.
  • Reinforcement of the responsibility of headteachers to manage staff and resources and of governing bodies to hold school leaders to account for managing and rewarding the performance of teachers in the interests of pupils.
  • On the basis of the above, a much simplified School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document, including a brief guide to the national framework and the flexibilities open to schools
     

Dame Patricia Hodgson, Chair of the STRB, said: "We believe our recommendations will help schools to recruit, retain and reward the best teachers. It will give heads freedom to manage teachers’ pay according to pupil needs and local circumstances, within a fair national framework."

Education Secretary Michael Gove said: "These recommendations will make teaching a more attractive career and a more rewarding job. They will give schools greater flexibility to respond to specific conditions and reward their best teachers.

"It is vital that teachers can be paid more without having to leave the classroom. This will be particularly important to schools in the most disadvantaged areas as it will empower them to attract and recruit the best teachers."

Under the current system for teachers’ pay:

  • automatic pay progression means there is a poor link between a teacher’s performance and reward; and
  • schools in some parts of the country struggle to recruit and retain good teachers.

Subject to the statutory consultation, the changes would come into effect from September 2013.

Professional Development Today
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