Performance pay ruling leaves applicant bitter

12th January 2001 at 00:00
A failed applicant for the pound;2,000 pay rise says eligibility depends on the luck of the draw

ONE of the first teachers to be told that he failed to qualify for a pound;2,000 performance-related pay rise has spoken of his humiliation and bitterness at being judged less successful than his colleagues.

"It has been a torment going to work each day feeling angry and hurt," the English teacher writes in this week's TES Friday magazine.

"Teaching has abruptly become a job I do for the money. I am angry and I know that I will have to use this anger in my appeal against the decision.

"And after my fight is ended, whether or not it succeeds, the damage has been done. I see no long-term future for me in the profession.

"I always knew that performance-related pay was wrong, that it was no way of fairly judging a teacher's performance. Now I am experiencing this knowledge, and it is bitter."

He and his colleagues found the scheme to be a lottery in which many get their money "on the nod" while others are scrutinised by an assessor who knows nothing of their work.

The secondary teacher was failed by an external assessor even though his head of 12 years had said he should pass. A sample of applications have to be double checked and his was one of those chosen. Had it not been the teacher would have automatically got the money. In his north London chool, eight out of 25 applications were checked by the assessor and several were failed.

Most teachers will not be told whether they have successfully crossed the threshold until later this term. But the results in "vanguard schools", which were first to complete the process, suggest that more than 90 per cent of the 200,000 applicants nationwide will be successful.

The teacher wrote: "The head who had known me for 12 years, felt I met the standard. The assessor condemned me because of what I had blithely stuffed into a bag in 10 minutes.

"Had I not been part of the sample, I would have gone through on the nod. It had been a lottery and I had drawn a losing ticket."

Meanwhile, the teaching unions are still lobbying the Government to give staff turned down for the threshold pay rise a full right of appeal.

The National Union of Teachers opposes a new order which would allow requests for cases to be reviewed by a second assessor if a teacher believes he or she has been the victim of discrimination on the grounds of sex, race or disability.

Graham Clayton, the NUT's solicitor, said: "Teachers should be able to appeal against all forms of unlawful discrimination. The Government has omitted two standard forms of discrimination - discrimination against part-time staff and against trade union members."

Friday magazine, 30


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