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Beware the bonus culture

Those who support performance-related pay ("What a performance about merit-based pay", Editorial, 26 April) should look to the chaos, greed and selfish attitude the bonus system has engendered in the banks in particular and the financial world in general. Before the crash I believe the mantra was, "If you want the best you have to pay high salaries". Does this sit comfortably with the collegiate, empathic ethos that we want our children to experience in schools?

To paraphrase the sociologist Amitai Etzioni, if an organisation has a management structure relying on coercion then it breeds alienation in its personnel. I know this will resonate with staff in many an academy and comprehensive school. An organisation whose management relies on control by remuneration should not be surprised if employees become manipulative, self-obsessed and calculative. This is the UK education secretary Michael Gove's vision for the future. But an organisation that relies on a moral ethos will encourage the supportive involvement of personnel. I know which I want as a model for our educational establishments.

But I suppose with an education secretary who uses combative language such as "beachhead" and a head of the English schools' inspectorate Ofsted, Sir Michael Wilshaw, who thinks of himself as the gun-toting Clint Eastwood, we can see where they are leading us.

John Patterson, Sunderland.

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