Highest performance pay 'should be limited to fewer teachers'

18th December 2009 at 00:00
International body urges major cuts to incentivised contracts

The proportion of teachers in England qualifying for salaries of more than #163;33,400 should be slashed by as much as half, according to an organisation representing the world's leading industrialised nations.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is advocating performance-related pay (PRP) for teachers, but believes the higher financial rewards should be limited to as little as a quarter of those eligible. That would represent a major change in England, where at least 45 per cent of eligible teachers qualified for the upper, performance pay scale last year.

In the book Evaluating and Rewarding the Quality of Teachers: International Practices, published this month, the OECD, which represents 30 of the world's most developed economies, says: "Eligibility for rewards should be open to all teachers if teachers are to view them as incentives to work harder, although actual rewards for performance should probably be limited to the top quarter or third of teachers."

John Bangs, head of education at teaching union the NUT, who wrote the only chapter in the OECD book criticising PRP, said such change would be counter-productive. "Having a higher hurdle for qualification would demoralise rather than motivate teachers because they would know they would not have a cat in hell's chance of achieving it," he said.

Last academic year 47 per cent of eligible secondary teachers and 45 per cent of primary teachers moved from the main to upper pay scale in England.

Mr Bangs said he believed there was a danger that the book could influence the performance pay system in this country.

"This (book) might encourage the Government to review its own systems as there is a very close connection between the Westminster Government and the OECD," he said.

The book, edited by Susan Sclafani, is viewable at www.sourceoecd.orgeducation9789264061989.

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