Bonuses will be divisive, say staff

4th February 2000 at 00:00
Awards for favoured individuals are a poor

substitute for a decent across-the-board rise, teachers in Portsmouth tell Steve Hook

THE review body has missed the simplest and best solution to the problem of teachers' pay, say staff at Northern Parade junior school: a bigger across-the-board pay increase.

They say the recommended 3.3 per cent rise has failed to achieve the review body's aim of improving "motivation and morale" in the profession.

The 480-pupil school, in Hilsea, a working-class neighbourhood in Portsmouth, believes it has played its part in improving standards across the city, despite an increasing proportion of pupils with special needs.

But from the head, Chris Watts, down to Sophie Mills, who recently completed her year as a newly-qualified teacher, there is dismay that the rise fails to recognise the achievements they have already made.

Staff are also doubtful over whether teachers will be keen to apply to cross the performance threshold and get on the new, higher performance-related pay scale.

They say that the threshold system fails to take account of the way colleagues collaborate and constantly share ideas. They say that incentives based on individual performance will undermine this culture of teamwork.

Mr Watts, whose salary will increase from pound;41,868 to pound;43,25, said:

"I don't think the workload we have already had to deal with has been recognised and the amount of time teachers have been released from teaching to cope with their other duties has been grossly insufficient.

"I think people will say no to the performance threshold because they will see it as divisive. We are a close family here and we work as a team."

Ms Mills, whose pay will increase from pound;16,383 to pound;16,923, said: "I think a lot of teachers won't put themselves forward for the performance threshold, out of loyalty to their colleagues. Whenever you get good performance it is always the result of more than one teacher."

Penny Young has two responsibility points - as a year leader and for looking after students and new teachers.

She will see her salary go

up from pound;28,179 to pound;29,109.

She said: "We have done a great deal to raise standards already and I think it was time we were valued.

"We should all have much higher salaries and we should have them now.

"Tony Blair talks about offering us 'something for something' but I say we have already given him something for nothing, and it's time to pay up."

The salary of her colleague, Sue Barnes, will increase from pound;23,193 salary to pound;23,958. She said: "For many years I haven't seen my salary rising in real terms."

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