Employers reject merit pay for young teachers

EMPLOYERShave joined heads and teachers in rejecting Government plans to introduce performance-related pay for teachers from the first year of their careers.

In a move that will disappoint Education Secretary Estelle Morris, the Employers' Organisation, representing employers of state-school staff, including councils, told the School Teachers' Review Body that the move would put unnecessary pressure on new recruits.

Ms Morris raised the idea of performance pay for all teachers in a letter to the review body, which advises her on pay and conditions, in August.The Department for Education and Skills believes that it is increasingly difficult to justify automatic annual pay rises, when the shortening of the main, pre-threshold spine means these can be greater than 10 per cent.

Employers argue that during their first five years teachers need time to build experience and hone their skills and that there are already enough ways to reward excellence and tackle incompetence. Heads are also worried that extending performance pay to 200,000 new teachers would increase bureaucracy and prove unworkable.

Teachers' leaders have vowed to fight any move to extend performance-related pay. In their joint submission to the review body, classroom unions backed heads in rejecting Ms Morris's argument that it is too easy for teachers who have passed the threshold to progress up the upper pay spine.

Headteacher unions persuaded the Government earlier this year to increase funding so more teachers could advance on the upper spine.

In a separate submission, the National Union of Teachers and Welsh union UCAC called for the abolition of the performance threshold.

The Government has set no definite date for the STRB to report on restructuring teachers' pay. The body has to consider issues put to it by the Government but there is no obligation on ministers to accept its recommendations.

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