'Merit pay failed in colleges';FE Focus

9th April 1999 at 01:00
MERIT pay plans for schools have already failed in colleges and universities, say leaders of the biggest lecturers' union, writes Ian Nash.

A NATFHE analysis of universities which introduced various performance-related pay schemes suggests that false claims have been made about their effectiveness and that virtually all were abandoned.

In the "old" universities, schemes were introduced largely in the form of discretionary pay. Few of the "new" universities could be persuaded to do so after the failure of early schemes.

Far from improving motivation, the report says, "PRP lowers morale, creates suspicion and actively undermines teamworking and collegiality."

"In practice the schemes have become a dead letter, with funding being quietly reabsorbed into mainstream grant or, in practice, being used for non-PRP purposes, such as promotion, or allocated equally to all staff."

In its response to the Government Green Paper: Teachers: Meeting the Challenge of Change, the union argues that unlike promotion, where criteria were open, PRP decisions were "highly managerial and often shrouded in secrecy".

Echoing London School of Economics research into PRP, NATFHE says that reported gains in productivity seemed to stem from improved target-setting rather than from links between pay and performance.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a TES/ TESS subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


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, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order today