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Book of the week: What the Victorians didn't know

Performance Pay for Teachers By E C Wragg, G S Haynes, C M Wragg and R P Chamberlin RoutledgeFalmer pound;24.99

Introducing the first system of performance-related pay for teachers, the vice-president of the Education Board made a famous undertaking. Addressing the House of Commons in 1862, Robert Lowe said he couldn't promise that it would be economical, and he couldn't promise it would work, but he insisted it would be one or the other: "If it is not cheap, it shall be efficient; if it's not efficient, itnbsp;shall be cheap."

That system failed. After 30 years of teaching to test, payment by results was abandoned, lingering only as a folk memory of mistaken central intervention. Outside Britain, though, Lowe's promise was not to be forgotten.

Performance Pay for Teachers , the latest survey from Exeter University's ongoing research into appraisal and performance, shows that the concept has endured for more than a century. School districts in the United States have often tried it; so, more recently, have New Zealand and Australia.

Read the full review in this week's TES Friday magazine. Other books reviewed this week include:

Teachers' Legal Liabilities and Responsibilities: the Bristol guide University of Bristol graduate school of education pound;5.50, discounts on multiple copies. Order from: teresa.nurser@bristol.ac.uk

Out of the Darkness: teens talk about suicide By Marion Crook Arsenal Pulp Press pound;9.99 (distributed by Turnaround, www.turnaround-uk.com )

The Ali Abbas Story: the moving story of one boy's struggle for life By Jane Warren Harper Collins pound;14.99

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