Pay body says results must count

9th February 2007 at 00:00
Double pay rises can be given to high fliers but nothing extra for poor performers

Annual pay rises for most teachers will depend on their performance and their pupils' achievement from next year, if the Government follows the advice of its statutory pay body.

Alan Johnson, the Education Secretary, accepted the School Teachers' Review Body's urging that newly qualified teachers should be able to leapfrog more experienced staff up the pay scale, jumping two steps at a time, if their performance was good.

But he has responded equivocally to the proposal to hold them back for poor performance. While he agreed to amend the statutory pay and conditions document so that unqualified and newly qualified teachers must pass performance reviews, he said he was not proposing any change to the existing pay progression arrangement.

The estimated 280,000 staff on the main pay scale start as low as pound;19,641 a year, progressing over six years to pound;32,820 in inner London.

They are entitled to an annual pay rise unless their service is deemed unsatisfactory and they are subject to forma* Jdisciplinary action.

By contrast, the 240,000 senior staff and school leaders must fight for salary increases each year by proving they have performed well.

NASUWT, the most powerful teachers' union in the government's pay partnership, claimed victory over the spectre of performance pay this week.

Chris Keates, its general secretary, said unions had made their opposition known. "There's nothing that anyone on the main scale needs to fear," she insisted.

But the Government's position is not so clear-cut. The review body's annual report was tabled in Parliament this week after Mr Johnson's civil servants finalised his response.

Controversially, it recommended that main scale and unqualified teachers be held to account in the same way as senior colleagues, being denied more pay unless they perform satisfactorily. "It will help ensure that teachers see the link between performance and remuneration from the beginning of their career," the report said.

Performance pay from day one would help schools reward excellent performance with double pay increases, it said.

Mr Johnson agreed that the new pay and conditions document would contain a clear statement of teachers' contractual responsibilities, requiring them to deliver "high standards and the best possible outcomes for all pupils".

The National Union of Teachers said it was watching vigilantly to ensure that Mr Johnson's response did not allow performance pay in by the back door.

The Education Secretary also accepted the review body's recommendations to pay part-time teachers fully, and to offer cash incentives to teachers to retrain in short-staffed subjects such as physics and chemistry.

Full reports, pages 45

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