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Payment by results rejected;Conference;National Association of Head Teachers

Headteachers have declared their robust opposition to performance-related pay, despite the Prime Minister's insistence that the reform must go ahead, writes Frances Rafferty.

Delegates in Cardiff at the National Association of Head Teachers conference said linking pay to pupils' results was unfair and urged their leadership to take a tougher line.

Meanwhile David Hart, the NAHT general secretary, has written to the Government saying his members will not implement the scheme unless his association's demands are met.

Phil Buckley, of Tong Moor school, Bolton, said he objected to his and his staff's pay being determined by nine and 11-year-old pupils. Jim Price, of South View primary school, Crowland, Lincolnshire, said: "Just as we cannot expect something for nothing from the government, neither should Tony Blair and his colleagues expect something for nothing from us."

Chris McDonnell, of Fulfen school, Staffordshire, said:

"Performance-related pay is the wrong answer to the wrong question. It flies in the face of the essentially collaborative view of teaching."

The NAHT, in a letter to Education Secretary David Blunkett, has set 10 conditions, including:

* funding to cover all pay rises;

* funding to run the system and train teachers;

* a guarantee that appraisal will not involve a link between pay and exam results;

* and a minimum impact on workload.

Mr Hart told delegates these conditions were non-negotiable and heads would not even train to operate the new performance pay system until they were met.

Earlier in the week, the Prime Minister, addressing conference, promised billions more for education if standards improved and teachers accepted performance pay. He said education will get the biggest spending increase in history, but said this investment could not be justified unless teachers were assessed annually.

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