Cool response to performance pay

10th July 1998 at 01:00
HEADTEACHERS and their deputies are more sceptical than other public-sector workers about performance-related pay, a new study shows.

They say it adds little motivation and can be divisive, rewarding individuals for the whole school's efforts, damaging morale and weakening team spirit. But those who have received awards take a more positive view.

The survey, by David Marsden and Stephen French, of the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics, found most other public-sector workers agreed with performance-srelated pay on principle.

Scepticism among the 2,000 heads who responded reflected the nature of schools, according to Dr Marsden, reader in industrial relations. "A head's performance depends very heavily on the co-operation of colleagues. It's much more difficult to separate individual from collective performance."

Heads and deputies tend to be the only teachers to get merit awards, which are supposed to be linked to performance reviews by governors, but their use is patchy.

Heads in deprived areas were less likely to get performance-related awards, the survey found, possibly because governors opposed in principle or because of limited resources.

Schools that did make awards often did not link them to school results, something unions particularly fear. Instead, heads were rewarded more often for fulfiling their development plans, sound financial management or simply "sustained high performance".

'What a Performance', the Centre for Economic Performance, LSE, Houghton St, London WC2A 2AE, Pounds 15.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today