Abandon pay proposals;Letter

24th December 1999 at 00:00
AT A recent meeting attended by more than 60 Oxfordshire governors and headteachers, great concern was expressed about the Government's plans for performance related pay.

It was felt that PRP is not a proven means to achieve the stated aims for education. In fact, history shows otherwise. Payments by results, used in English schools between 1862 and 1900, was discredited and discarded.

PRP is not a guaranteed motivator - the top motivators are a challenging job, good leadership and opportunities for development.

Our main concerns were:

There is no evidence to indicate that either paying all teachers a bit more or paying a significant increase to a few will improve overall performance of either teachers or their pupils. Teachers should be rewarded better with an improved and more flexible pay structure.

The incentive for high performance may have a counter-productive effect and more attention must be spent matching money to need rather than the blunt tool of performance alone.

The emphasis on the individual rather than the team will be divisive and consequently reduce effectiveness and performance.

The temptation will be to base rewards on what is easily measurable. This will limit many opportunities for children. Creativity and non-tested activities will suffer and many other aspects of their development will be sidelined.

There is no one way of being an effective teacher. We fear the imposition of one model that in practice will neither exist nor be practicable to follow.

There is no research evidence that justifies the Government's proposals. Huge amounts of money will be allocated to a system that has already been rejected, in the main, by business and is not appropriate to education.

The fundamental problem is that there is no consensus as to how "performance" can be meaningfully measured. Even with those forms of business activity that lend themselves to assessment, PRP can breed resentment, division and unhelpful internal competition.

Where the basis of the assessment is itself contestable and contentious, the effects are likely to be even more negative.

We urge Government to reconsider and fund those more worthwhile aspects of the Green Paper.

Philip Marples

President, Oxfordshire branch

National Association of Head

Teachers

Jill Baden

David Seymour

Members of the Oxfordshire

Governors Association

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