Survey finds most teachers still hate the threshold

4th May 2001 at 01:00
NINE out of 10 teachers say the Government's system of performance pay is unfair, even though it gave many of them a pound;2,000 pay rise, writes Nic Barnard.

Almost a year after teachers filled out application forms to cross the new pay threshold, opposition is as strong as ever. Seven out of 10 eligible teachers have received the pay rise. But in a survey by Warwick University for the National Union of Teachers, only 6 per cent thought it a "fair method".

Four out of five said performance management - the new appraisal system behind performance pay - did nothing to raise their morale. Senior teachers complained that lessons are disrupted as they leave to observe their colleagues. Appraisal interviews have to be "squeezed in" when they have a spare minute. And both performance management and the threshold have added to workload.

Teachers in the survey talked of colleagues who had breakdowns or resigned after failing the threshol. "Two OFSTED inspections and various classroom observations have all stated that my teaching is good. Why do I have to re-prove it?" said one primary teacher in her 40s.

NUT general secretary Doug McAvoy said performance management should be included in the workload review unions are demanding. "Performance management is good in principle, but this particular bureaucratic variant convinces no one. It has been put in place for other purposes," he said. "Nobody is convinced by the threshold. People have got their pound;2,000 and they still think it is completely unnecessary."

Warwick's institute of education sent survey forms last month to 13,500 NUT members in 12 authorities. Despite the Easter break, around one in five responded.

On the controversial pupil progress measure, almost half thought their appraisal target agreed with school managers was fair. But only 17 per cent felt the same about their threshold target.

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