GCSEs: Pay us for 'horrendous' grade work, say teachers

Exclusive: Union says teachers in England deserve £400 'token' for grading and moderation – the same as in Scotland

GCSEs and A levels 2021: Parents pressuring teachers to raise grades

Teachers should be paid extra for their “absolutely horrendous” additional workload in producing grades following the cancellation of exams, according to a union leader.

Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the NEU teaching union, said schools needed to give teachers extra time to complete the work, for example, by drafting in cover teachers on the timetable.

And she said teachers "absolutely deserved" a £400 bonus for the extra workload like their counterparts in Scotland

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She said: “Lots of teachers have had no bank holiday because they’ve been spending their time – hours and hours and hours – just doing assessment. And that’s because all of this has been dropped on them beyond the last minute.

“They need some remuneration, which would only ever be a token – because if you actually paid teachers for the amount of extra work that they’ve done, it would bankrupt the system.

GCSEs and A levels 2021: Teachers 'are doing the job of exam boards'

“If teachers in Scotland are getting £400, then teachers in England absolutely deserve that, too. And remember, teachers in Scotland knew for much longer [that exams would be cancelled] because the decision there was made earlier so they have had time to put systems in place.”

She added: “Last year it was an algorithm [that decided grades]. This year, teachers are marking the work…the workload that has been visited upon teachers is absolutely horrendous.

"They are doing the job of the exam boards and they need to be paid properly for doing it, and they need to be given the circumstances and time to do the work well. It can’t just be on top of their existing workload…schools can [for example] employ cover teachers or cover supervisors.”

Meanwhile, teachers have taken to social media to highlight the income they have lost through not marking exam papers in the usual way – while now producing grades for free.

One teacher posted on Redditt.com: “I have become the exam board but without the money.”

And another said they normally made about £40 to £50 an hour marking OCR A-level geography papers, while another commented: “The last time exam marking was available I made an extra £1,000 marking for A level [but] I marked probably half of what I'm marking this year for free.”

Headteachers’ leader Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said teachers’ work in carrying out assessments was the “latest example of their extraordinary work”.

He said: “Instead of recognising their efforts through improved pay, the government has signalled its intention to do the opposite by imposing a pay freeze.

"It is a kick in the teeth and we once again call upon ministers to do the right thing and provide teachers with a significant pay increase which addresses years of real-terms pay cuts, boosts recruitment and retention, and recognises the huge commitment of teachers throughout the pandemic.”

A Department for Education spokesperson said: Teachers know their students best, which is why we are giving schools the flexibility to determine how best to assess their cohorts.

We are grateful for the hard work of all school and college staff to support students and help them gain their qualifications during the pandemic. Many of our policies have been designed with workload in mind which, with union support, we are seeking to minimise as much as possible.”


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Dave Speck

Dave Speck is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @Specktator100

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