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Teachers Pay Wednesday, 9 February, 2000, 16:04 GMT
Mixed response to pay proposals
class
Teaching unions still have many concerns about performance-related pay
Details of the appraisal system for teachers' performance-related pay have met with a mixed response from unions.

The criteria, announced on Wednesday, have gone some way towards appeasing a number of teaching unions worried about the contentious issue of measuring pupils' improvement.
Doug McAvoy
Doug McAvoy has condemned the proposed pay system

But the National Union of Teachers (NUT) has not relented in its condemnation of the proposed system.

Instead of saying that teachers will be assessed on their pupils' "progress towards national levels of achievement", the criteria now say teachers will have to show that pupils have made progress "as good or better than similar pupils nationally".

The head teachers' unions, the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) and the Secondary Heads Association (SHA), had been pressing for the alteration, but said they still had considerable concerns about the appraisal process.

Workload worries

David Hart, General Secretary of the NAHT, said: "Hard and lengthy negotations have produced a vastly improved threshold assessment document.

"We are not talking about payment by results, though the government still unwisely wishes to compare individual pupil progress with the national picture."

He added that the union was particularly concerned with the implications the appraisal system would have for members' workloads, training and resources.
John Dunford
John Dunford warned appraisals would have to be objective

John Dunford, General Secretary of SHA, warned that the basis of head teacher judgements when appraising staff would have to be "secure, and as far as possible, objective".

He added: "In this first year of the new system, with the revised performance policies not yet in place, it will be difficult for headteachers to identify the evidence of pupil progress in a secondary school subject which can be directly attributed to the work of an individual teacher."

The harshest response to the government announcement came from NUT General Secretary Doug McAvoy, who said: "The NUT has been attacked by the government for claiming that government proposals mean the introduction of payment by results.

"With the publication of the threshold standards I take no satisfaction in the fact that we have been proved right.

"Teachers will be assessed on test and exam results despite the fact that they have no control over the background factors affecting their pupils' achievement."

'Nothing to fear'

Nigel de Gruchy, General Secretary of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT), acknowledged "progress behind the scenes" leading to the appraisal criteria.

But he said "massive problems" remained, with the process of assessing teachers threatening a "tidal wave of bureaucracy".

The Professional Association of Teachers (PAT) said there was a "great deal of common sense" in the criteria.

But its professional services committee chairman Philip Parkin said it would be "impossible to make sound judgements" about the effect an individual teacher had on a pupil's progress.

Peter Smith, General Secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), was positive about the criteria, and said teachers had "nothing to fear".

"The extra pay on offer from the government is a once-in-a-career opportunity for a large number of classroom teachers to gain at least a little more reward for the superb professional job they carry out day after day.

"It is a travesty to suggest that the government is proposing crude payment by results. The government, parents and employers will not understand if teachers reject the proposal that pupil progress should be rewarded."

See also:

09 Feb 00 | UK Education
09 Feb 00 | UK Education
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