The NUT's deputy leader has suggested the union could be persuaded to accept a form of performance-related pay if external evaluators were involved in any scheme.
Kevin Courtney, deputy general secretary, told a fringe meeting at the Conservative Party conference yesterday that the inclusion of an external body assessing and observing teachers would be a “significant factor” for the union.
The comments come on the same day that thousands of teachers in swathes of the country are staging strikes in opposition to reforms to pay and working conditions brought in by the coalition.
The introduction of performance-related pay, brought in at the beginning of this term, is one of the policies the NUT and the NASUWT are protesting against in their joint strike today.
But speaking yesterday evening Mr Courtney raised the prospect of talks with the Department for Education when he hinted that his union could find a workable solution to the controversial pay policy.
The deputy leader was clear in his opposition to the policy as it stands, citing international evidence showing where teachers’ pay had been linked to their performance had been unsuccessful.
However, in responding to a question as to whether the presence of external assessors in judging a teacher not just headteachers would make him reconsider he suggested it might.
“We’re seeking talks [with the DfE] about all matters,” Mr Courtney said. “If there were a system [of performance-related pay] that looked at using external evaluators that would be a significant factor for us.”
Strikes are being staged across the Eastern, East Midlands, West Midlands, Yorkshire and Humberside regions today with scores of schools being forced to close due to the walkouts.