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What the teachers say;Opinion

Teachers and support staff from six local authorities were invited to a question-and-answer session in Bradford, the first of 20 grassroots consultation meetings to be held around the country during the next three weeks on the Government's salary proposals. Later they gave their reactions to what they had heard.

Josie Hervey, who teaches at Scotchman middle school, Bradford, said: "I am concerned that performance-related pay is an attack on our conditions of service.

"We work hard enough, we cannot do any more. Our conditions of service are there to protect us. Performance-related pay will destroy our working conditions."

Linda McMillan, a deputy head from Blackpool, said she was astonished by what she heard during the presentation made by two civil servants involved in drawing up the Green Paper. She said they were often unable to answer teachers' questions.

She added: "The presentation was embarrassing. They stood there asking us how we could make something unworkable work.

"One of the best points made was by a combined sciences teacher. He wanted to know how anyone could decide which teacher out of a team of three working with the same children was doing the best job. The proposals are divisive, they attack the essence of our work - teamwork.

"There was no one in that room in favour of the Green Paper and yet I didn't feel as if we were being listened to at all. They couldn't even tell us what would happen to the notes they were taking or who would see them. It was very frustrating."

Eileen Narey, who teaches at Tong upper school, Bradford, said she was uplifted by the meeting because the people there were unanimous in their opposition to the Government's plans for the new pay and rewards structure. "This is something I think people will be prepared to strike over," she said.

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