Nod for pay reform and 'improved quality'

28th May 2010 at 01:00

The coalition Government will press on with plans to "reform" the national pay and conditions rules, giving individual schools more freedom over what they pay their teachers.

The decision to alter the rules will enable heads to pay good teachers more, while helping to deal with "poor performance", the coalition agreement says.

But the move has provoked an immediate backlash from classroom unions.

The NUT warned against any move to change the national pay deal, stating that it provides much-needed transparency.

"The proposals to apparently weaken national pay and conditions fly in the face of evidence," said NUT general secretary Christine Blower. "Performance-related pay has been a failure."

"There is no evidence that it improves standards. National pay scales for teachers are transparent and give a far greater guarantee of fairness and non-discrimination than pay levels determined at school level."

The Conservatives' plans to push on with "improving the quality of the teaching profession" will also take place under the new coalition Government.

It is expected that under the plans any candidate with a third-class honours degree will be refused funding for a PGCE, while those with a C grade or lower in GCSE English and maths will be prevented from entering the profession.

A source close to Education Secretary Michael Gove said: "It is about raising the prestige of the teaching profession; we are trying to develop a combination of having more faith and trust in teachers, while giving them more autonomy."

Before the general election, all three parties stated their desire to expand the Teach First programme, and the Con-Lib coalition is no different.

It says it will "support" Teach First, but it is believed the programme will be given far greater encouragement to expand its remit and attract more graduates from the country's top universities, particularly in maths and science.

Recruiting from other professions is seen as another way to "improve the quality" of teachers, with the Teach Now programme expected to be rolled out during the tenure of the current government.

The Conservatives were also successful in seeing their Troops to Teachers policy adopted, which will seek ways to recruit ex-servicemen into teaching.

Need to know

The coalition Government will:

- Allow new providers to run state schools

- Create a pupil "premium"

- Support Teach First

- Reform existing "rigid" national pay and conditions

- Help schools to tackle bullying, especially homophobic abuse

- Target Ofsted on areas of failure

- Give anonymity to teachers accused by pupils

- Allow schools to offer a wider range of qualifications

- Reform league tables so schools focus on progress of all children

- Review how key stage 2 tests work.

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