Paying for the common good;Letter

19th February 1999 at 00:00
Morpeth School has received recognition for achieving some of the greatest improvements in exam success, across the ability range, among schools throughout the country (TES, February 12).

The improvements in our school have come about through the collective effort of all our staff, a spirit of mutual support, a willingness to share good practice and a recognition that we all have positive things to contribute.

The Government, in its Green paper, is threatening to introduce performance-related pay (PRP). This will mean that a handful of teachers will be paid more than the rest, rewarding a few at the expense of the many. Such a system fails completely to recognise that children learn best when teachers build on and support the work of each other. It is also clear that the amount of money available to "reward" teachers will be limited, so that not all teachers will receive it, however deserving they may be.

We are convinced that PRP will not only destroy the teamwork and mutual respect which made our good results possible but that it will result in demoralisation and frustration for the majority of teachers. Here in Tower Hamlets we are experiencing a major problem in recruiting and retaining staff in our schools.

We do not believe that any of the proposals made in the Green Paper to recruit more teachers such as "fast-tracking" will improve this situation.

To conclude, we firmly oppose PRP. We did not become teachers because we wanted to compete with our colleagues but because we wanted to help our pupils make progress and to achieve all that they are capable of.

This is why studies show that teachers work on average more than 50 hours per week. That is why all teachers deserve a real pay rise that will bring their salaries into line with graduates in other professions.

Until that happens we do not expect to see the end of the recruitment crisis.

Mike Roy and 32 other teachers at Morpeth School, London E2

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