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New appraisal system eats up pound;40m

The Government is spending almost pound;40 million on the new system of teacher appraisals and threshold assessments, figures obtained by The TES reveal.

They show that Cambridge Education Associates and the Centre for British Teachers will receive up to pound;24m and pound;14m respectively over the first 18 and 15 months of the new performance management system.

Meanwhile, a consortium headed by recruitment specialist Interactive Skills will receive up to pound;9.2m over three years for running the "fast-track" scheme for trainee and experienced teachers.

This is pound;2.2m more than was spent on the Teacher Training Agency's "those who can, teach" recruitment campaign. Around 1,574 people have applied for fast-track training starting this September.

Unions and councils criticised the payments as a waste of taxpayers' money.

David Hart, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said: "This is nearly pound;40m that could have been put straight into improving the salary prospects of large numbers of teachers."

Nigel de Gruchy, general secretary of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, sad it was another example of privatisation proving more expensive.

Graham Lane, education chair of the Local Government Association, added:

"Ministers are creating bureaucracy at public expense, and companies are charging them more because they have to turn a profit."

The Department for Education and Employment said the contracts had been awarded competitively and were rigorously monitored to ensure value for money.

"Both the quality and cost of fast track are in line with what other recruiters spend to attract top graduates. The performance management contracts represent money well spent in ensuring that the threshold payment process is robust, credible and fair from the beginning.

"Costs in the first year reflect the fact that nearly half the teaching profession has applied for performance-related pay. They will reduce substantially in future years," it added.

The DFEE is also paying London-based Educational Communications pound;1.52m over three years to help its schools directorate manage its relationships with large companies - and expects "huge gains" in what businesses contribute towards schools.

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