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Performance-related pay has increased teacher workload, DfE research shows

Headteachers think it is too early to tell whether pay reforms will have an impact on teacher recruitment and retention

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Headteachers think it is too early to tell whether pay reforms will have an impact on teacher recruitment and retention

The introduction of performance-related pay has increased teacher workload, according to new research for the Department for Education.

The government reformed the pay of teachers in local authority schools in September 2013, giving schools more freedom to decide how much they pay teachers, and how quickly teachers' pay progresses.

A spring 2015 survey of headteachers for today’s report, Evaluation of Teachers’ Pay Reform, found that 99 per cent of maintained schools, and 62 per cent of academies, had reformed their pay policies.

A survey of 1,020 teachers found that 66 per cent thought their school’s current pay policy had added to their workload, while 58 per cent thought it had made no difference to the way they worked.

The report says that the “majority of teachers had positive attitudes towards the implementation of their school’s pay policy”, but adds that “fewer teachers were convinced of the motivational nature of their school’s pay policy”.

In total, 27 per cent said it helped to motivate underperforming teachers and 38 per cent said it helped to further motivate teachers who were already performing well, but only 34 per cent agreed that it “resulted in a fair allocation of pay for staff in the school”.

Helping teacher recruitment?

The report says “most headteachers” felt pay reforms had not had an immediate impact on teacher recruitment and retention.

In the 2015 survey, 7 per cent of heads said the reforms had had an impact on teacher recruitment, while 33 per cent said they had had a positive impact on retaining teachers.

However, headteachers interviewed for case studies carried out in 2016 "felt it was too soon to tell whether the pay reforms would impact on teacher recruitment and retention".

The case studies, carried out in eight schools, showed that the main challenges associated with bringing in the reforms were the additional staff time involved in collecting and reviewing evidence for performance reviews; the pressure on teachers to meet pupil outcome targets; and the challenge of applying a school’s pay policy fairly in certain situations, such as job shares.

The report offers some reassurance for those who feared that performance-related pay could be bad for certain groups.

It says: “There was no evidence from this analysis to support concerns that females or members of black and minority ethnic groups were disadvantaged by the pay reforms. However, more in-depth research would be needed to conclusively state if this was the case.”

It concludes: “The introduction of pay reforms appears to have gone smoothly, although many teachers report that the process of gathering and reviewing evidence has added to their workload.”

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