Talking point

31st January 2003 at 00:00
TEACHERS tell The TES what they think of the Government's push on performance pay and why teams, not just individuals, should be rewarded for their work.

David Pearmain, head, Kenton school, Newcastle-upon-Tyne: "There's no link between how you pay people and pupils' achievement. If the money was put into raising people's pay, it would be much more motivating."

Beverly Jones, head, Chesterton community college, Cambridgeshire:

"Teachers should be held accountable for their professional responsibilities. The idea that success is dependent on years of service, rather than knowledge and quality of classroom practice, is dated."

Elizabeth Kitcatt, deputy head and English teacher, Camden school for girls, London: "The work teachers do in secondary schools is interdependent. Everyone contributes to good results: year heads, mentors, heads of departments."

Andrew Morgan, head of science, Henley-in-Arden high school, Warwickshire: "In principle, PRP is absolutely fantastic. In practice, though, it's very complex. You can't regulate support from home. Unless teachers are able to form a partnership with parents, they can't affect changes in behaviour or attitude."

Sam Taylor, art teacher, Brockworth school, Gloucestershire:

"I don't do the job for the money I get paid. I do the job because I like working with children. We are a very small department, so we're trying to create good feeling as a team.

"It's not nice to be singled out, if you don't achieve your targets and everyone else does. It would be better to reward the department as a whole - we work as a unit, rather than as individuals."

Chris Henstock, head of Lutterworth grammar and community college, Leicestershire, backed some of David Miliband's proposals. "Most people don't come into teaching for the pay, unless they've been very poorly informed, so I don't think PRP will be the huge motivator certain people think. What improves performance in schools are good, robust exchanges between professionals, intended to develop people's skills."

Mr Henstock believes there is mileage in the suggestion that teams are rewarded for their performance: "Think about a child's GCSE result - who should be rewarded? Their teacher in the last year? The last two years? To reward only the last teacher is a misconception of progress," he said.

And he is enthusiastic about heads assessing their peers. "I think having another headteacher involved in the assessment process is a thoroughly good idea. For my first eight years of being a head, that's exactly how I was appraised. Mr Miliband is reinventing the past."

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