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Teachers Pay Thursday, 22 June, 2000, 10:27 GMT 11:27 UK
Teachers dislike new pay system
school staffroom
Teachers fear divisions in the staffroom
Teachers in England say the large proportion of their number who have applied for performance-related pay should not be taken to mean that the government's scheme is a popular success.


This gives me a real chance to improve the standard of living for my family

Teacher
Michael Mayell is one of a group of teachers in a North Yorkshire primary school boycotting any application for performance-related pay.

"I'm concerned mostly about the effect that it will have on teamwork and morale in a small school, especially a primary school," he said.

"The process of application as it stands at the moment encourages teachers to claim individual success and downplay the benefit of teamwork.

"If you've got a particularly good idea that's getting good results you're hardly likely to share it with the teacher next door, if you know that it will look good on your form when the teacher comes to assess your application."

Lack of union support

Jill McManus, a secondary school teacher from South Tyneside, also opposes performance-related pay but has now decided to apply for it.

She blames the unions for not providing her any with real alternative.

Andy Ward
Andy Ward: Thinking of his family
"There's a widespread feeling that the unions have underestimated the strength of the opposition to performance-related pay," she said.

"But without them to take the lead in collective action we've been left to struggle with our own consciences as to whether we opposed it on an individual basis or not."

Even in schools where most or all of those who are eligible have applied, there is discontent with the process.

Andy Ward, who teaches history in a Leicestershire secondary school, does not like having his pay linked with pupils' results - but is swayed by the possibility of getting a second pay rise this year, of more than 8%, on top of the 3.3% they have had already.

Standard of living

"We as teachers are not particularly overpaid as it is and if this gives me a real chance to improve the standard of living for my family then I'm going to go for that," he said.


A way of directing teachers along a narrow line of what politicians believe defines a good teacher

Deputy head
Ron Creer, deputy head responsible for staff development at John Ruskin School, a comprehensive in Coniston, Cumbria, said all eligible staff in his school had applied.

"However, the system is not intended to enable good teachers to receive more money - this is just a by-product for some good teachers," he said.

"It is intended, with its obligatory links to performance management, to be a way of directing teachers along a narrow line of what politicians believe defines a good teacher, with inspired but unconventional teachers being weeded out.

"For example, the need for all teachers to be able to handle complex computerised matching of past test results with predicted grades for target setting, means many older teachers who cannot manage this are disenfranchised even if they are brilliant with pupils.

"The hugely complex application forms also mean successful applicants must be coached into learning what assessors really want people to write, so it becomes a case of staff needing to fill forms in successfully as much as being good teachers.

"I feel deeply sorry for teachers completing these forms without the sort of training my school spent hundreds of pounds gaining."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Mike Baker
"Few can afford not to apply"
Teacher Michael Mayell
"It goes against teamwork"
Teacher Jill McManus
"Unions underestimate the opposition"
See also:

22 Jun 00 | Teachers Pay
16 Jun 00 | Teachers Pay
06 Jun 00 | Teachers Pay
29 May 00 | Teachers Pay
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