THE first of the Green Paper roadshows took off this week with signs that the Government has an uphill task persuading teachers to accept a pay structure linked to performance.
The Department for Education and Employment has already had eight meetings led by ministers speaking to hand-picked heads, teachers and local government officials throughout the country. The second round of consultation meetings, led by DFEE officials, started in Bradford and Reading this Monday and about 20 will take place.
Local education authority officials have been asked to select a list of teachers who will attend the invitation-only events. The press has not been invited.
A Government spokeswoman said the aim was to meet as many teachers as possible who will be able to speak without being inhibited by journalists. Local union associations expressed anger that people who wanted to go are being barred.
However, the present structure of the roadshows means the DFEE cannot blame union activists for hijacking the events. A picket was organised outside the meeting in Bradford where discussion did not get past opposition to the Government's intention to link pay to performance and pupil progress.
In Reading heads called the appraisal system unmanageable, teachers were concerned the number crossing the threshold would be rationed.
The message was also made clear in a meeting with senior civil servants and teacher organisations, support-staff unions, the churches and employer organisations that there were many concerns with the Green Paper's technical document.