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Wednesday, 3 May, 2000, 12:11 GMT 13:11 UK
Should teachers strike?

Members of the biggest teachers' union for England and Wales, the NUT, have voted for a ballot on a one-day strike over performance-related pay.

Many teachers are angry their pay could be affected by the test results of children as young as seven.

The union's conference wants all NUT members to vote on whether or not to strike over this government proposal.

But should teachers go on strike? Is depriving children of their education really the only way to get their views across? Tell us what you think. HAVE YOUR SAY

It is the government which is damaging education by imposing an unfair and bureaucratic system.

Tony Woods, UK
Performance-related pay will come - under this government or the next. The only losers will be the children who will have to compromise their education as a result of the strikes which may occur.
Andrew Long, UK

How can teachers claim to be overworked? They have the shortest working year of any group I can think of and complain that they have to work after 15:30 and sometimes at weekends. Well, I work in industry and get 25 days leave a year which I rarely have time to take completely. I do not get overtime or annual increments. I am paid by results at the discretion of my manager. I am not complaining.
Dennis, UK

If the government is concerned about attracting bright young graduates into the teaching profession, surely a bonus of 2000 in the first year (followed by a salary comparable with the private sector) will be more effective than offering the distant reward of a rise 7 years into the job. The salary on entry into teaching is not going to change with the new proposals, and graduates are still going to avoid working 50+ hours a week for less than 15,000 p/a.
Mick, UK

If teachers are being let down by idle colleagues, do you think the best way to motivate these same colleagues is to say 'you suck so you get no money'? That will not help at all - if anything it will make schools far more divisive than they are, and will split the education service down the middle. If performance-related pay is introduced it will wreck the teaching profession more than the Tories did when they were in power, and it will be a blow that I don't think they will ever recover from.
Dave McLean, England

The NUT Conference voted to ballot for a one day strike. The government has already forced schools to cease educating children for one day this term to hold training for the threshold application procedure. The government has told schools to close to children for another day next term to hold a training day on performance management. So, in two terms, it is the government which has taken away two days of children's education. It has done this to impose a system which (so-called) consultation showed was opposed by most teachers. It is the government which is damaging education by imposing an unfair and bureaucratic system. If the NUT does strike for a day, to protest against this, children will still have lost more time from the implementation of government's system than from the NUT's protest!
Tony Woods, UK

The firm I run works with LEAs and schools throughout the country. I know that most teachers do a reasonable to pretty good job; some do an outstanding job and a few are utterly abysmal. In the average primary school, generally it seems that there will be 2 or 3 outstanding teachers and 1 or 2 abysmal teachers. In the average secondary school there is usually at least one teacher whose incompetence is actually doing his pupils harm.
James Nicola, UK

As a student in South Africa I have a fairly extensive knowledge of strikes and their consequences. I think that to introduce performance related pay for teachers anywhere would be a grave mistake. In this country it would not be accepted at all. Pupils can never be forced to learn; they have to be inspired to do so. To put the kind of pressure on a teacher as performance related pay would, would no doubt decrease teacher's morale should they come across struggling pupils and this could lead to hostility towards such pupils.
Angela, South Africa



I myself was prompted by a teacher to cheat in an examination but I did not respond to it.

Anon, England
Performance-related pay would be the biggest disaster the education has ever seen. It will only make matters worse. I am a 16-year-old just about to sit my GCSE's. I know of teachers who already, to put it bluntly, cheat - mainly in coursework. I myself was prompted by a teacher to cheat in an examination but I did not respond to it. These teachers cheat for people who would not otherwise get a good grade due to the same teacher's poor methods and the fact they have learnt very little from them. This of course makes the teachers look good, and covers up the fact that they are poor, lazy teachers who don't care about their students.
Anon, England



It is practically impossible to arrive at a means whereby a fair assessment of performance can be made.

Robert Leggat, UK
The objection to performance-related pay has nothing to do with teachers' unwillingness to raise standards, as Chris Woodhead maintains. It is to do with the fact that it is practically impossible to arrive at a means whereby a fair assessment of performance can be made.
Are the kudos, say, for my daughter's prowess in music or mathematics to be ascribed to the teachers who have taught them at "A" level, or might it not equally be due to other teachers who, many years ago, awakened a love for the subjects? Or how can performance-related pay be assessed in team-teaching situations?
Robert Leggat, UK

Maybe if the Teachers are trusted to educate our future leaders and followers then we should be able to trust them if they vote for strike action. They are adults after all, and certainly well educated.
David Denton, England



I am sick of fellow colleagues "whinging" about pay and workload.

Paul Edwards, England
I will NOT strike because education is too important, regardless of what my teaching union says. I am sick of fellow colleagues "whinging" about pay and workload, and how they are going to leave the profession (which they never do!).
My pay is very respectable compared to other non-teaching salaries that I've earned, and I don't mind working hard because teaching is a profession requiring commitment. Let's get on with modernising the profession (even embracing financial rewards; why be afraid of PRP if you're any good at your job?), and get rid of "Winnie-the-Pooh" sweat-shirted militants still living in the 70s.
Paul Edwards, England

The point is missed by many readers. Teachers by and large do not moan. Slowly but surely the stress levels have risen as they have suffered till they screamed. The only "getting real" is to do something about it. It would actually be irresponsible to be bullied any longer and do nothing.
Ray Sirotkin, UK



It's terrible that teachers should have to take such direct action to get the message across, but it seems that they do.

Laura, UK
I'm loathe to say it but yes they should strike. It's glaringly obvious that we should pay teachers more: we can't afford not to! We desperately need to attract high calibre people to the teaching profession; to reward people for working in perhaps the most valuable service in our country; and to turn around the demoralisation that teachers face.
It's terrible that teachers should have to take such direct action to get the message across, but it seems that they do.
Laura, UK

Any teacher should have the right to strike. However, they should not expect the local or national taxpayer to pay for the time lost. Any teacher deliberately absent for more than one week should be required to sit an examination in his/her subjects to make sure that the minimum standards are conformed with.
Peter Kendall, USA (ex Pat Brit)

Here we go again! The moaning minnies of the teaching "profession" kicking and screaming against an employer that simply wants to measure their performance. Welcome to the real word! Here the good are rewarded, the bad are sacked. Hard to handle for those that are used to the comforts of a protected culture.
Billy, UK

I feel a bit like Popeye..."I've had all I can stands and I can't stands no more" However I can't stand spinach so a one-day strike will just have to do. And have you noticed the family resemblance between Bluto and Blunkett?
Chimera Norton, UK



The majority of teachers who don't want performance related pay are probably bad teachers anyway.

Kirsty Kapande, Northern Ireland
Teachers should not strike. In my opinion, the majority of teachers who don't want performance related pay are probably bad teachers anyway.
Kirsty Kapande, Northern Ireland

My brother, who is not a teacher, directed me (a teacher) to this site. Having read the various comments my feeling is that there are really two issues facing us.
One is: how do we make it easier to get rid of lazy, useless teachers without giving Heads the right to fire anyone who dares disagree with them?
The other is rewarding teachers for what is a mentally exhausting job. PRP relies on accurate assessment of the Teacher's abilities. Teaching is a more complex job than most understand.
Alan Stickle

Life is full of competition with rewards coming to those who excel. Welcome to the real world "Teach"!
Andrew Marks, UK



How do you compare the pay of someone teaching the top set with that of someone teaching kids who can barely speak?

Craig, England
Many people here have asked teachers to leave their jobs and try the real world out. Well, HELLO, they are and in large numbers. People I know who have given up teaching for better paid jobs will happily tell you that teachers work very long hours with high stress levels.
Although it may be good to pay teachers according to performance it is something that cannot be fairly judged without massive investment. How do you compare the pay of someone teaching the top set with that of someone teaching kids who can barely speak? It doesn't make sense and that is why we should give teachers some support.
Craig, England

Look, teachers are dealing with the producing of human beings, not commodities. Evaluating teachers' performance is not as simple as it is in other jobs. Their outcomes may not be ready for several years.
I remember that I have hated one of my teachers for poor grades, but when I grow older, I know that it was not his fault. Teachers should not be evaluated only on their performance in the classes and grades of students, rather the whole package of dealing with human beings should be considered.
FES, Sweden



The NUT is only talking about one day. How many children get through a term without a day off?

Ian Hollingworth, England
You can hardly call the NUT strike happy, it's ages since teachers took such action. In France the government soon listened when the teachers went on strike. The NUT is only talking about one day. How many children get through a term without a day off?
Teachers could leaflet parents and have meetings for them to explain their case. I don't really think the parents would be "alienated" whatever that means in practice.
Ian Hollingworth, England

If teachers decide to go on strike, what example does this give to our children, who will become the work force of the future. I would advise Teachers, if you don't like what you do or if you don't like the pay or indeed the great number of holidays get another job and see if you like being on the breadline and having to work overtime in order to make ends meet. See how you like having to live like the majority of people.
Andrea Sarul, England



I think the teachers should get a grip on themselves and get on with their job, the moaning has gone on long enough.

Richard, UK
What is it with those teachers? In other jobs (e.g. business life) you get judged by the quality of your work, so why not them, especially them. They are the ones who should "teach" the children, the ones who will take over from us when they're older, and so far I can't say the teachers have done a good job.
It seems that everyone in the public sector thinks he/she deserves more money, for what? For doing their job? Get real, we all want more pay for our jobs. I think the teachers should get a grip on themselves and get on with their job, the moaning has gone on long enough.
Richard, UK

With all due respect, I don't think the opinions of those that aren't teachers count here. Non-teachers will never realise just how hard the job is. PRP is completely unfair and those who are not to be affected by it should gracefully step aside and close their mouths.
Bethan, UK



I arrive at school at 7.30 am, get home at 5 and then continue to work until 8 in the evening.

Susannah, UK
I believe that if teachers are outstanding they should be paid for their achievements. However, as a teacher who has just spent the entire Easter holiday preparing for next term, I resent the individuals who feel that we arrive at school at 9 and finish at 3 with huge holidays.
If you want to work in the real world you are welcome to walk in my shoes for a day. I arrive at school at 7.30 am, get home at 5 and then continue to work until 8 in the evening. This is my second profession, I was a retail manager and I have therefore "lived in the real world". I would like to be paid along the same lines as other graduates, I would like to have the respect that other professions such as nursing have; I would also like to be treated as a professional.
Susannah, UK

I was amazed by the comment by Brian Stickle saying that parents should try paying for their children's education. Have we forgotten that parents do pay, through their taxes? I wonder if this kind of "we educate your children for free" attitude is widespread among teachers. If it is, it could explain their arrogance.
Jon Livesey, USA



How do you FAIRLY assess which teacher has the greatest influence on a student?

Tony Moss, UK
I was a delegate at the NUT conference. Teachers are overworked (50 plus hours per week), underpaid (dropped about 24% in real terms since the mid-seventies ) and stressed out. However , teachers support each other. PRP will divide teachers, increase the stress of teachers and pupils, and increase workload. Furthermore, how do you FAIRLY assess which teacher has the greatest influence on a student?
The government won't listen to teachers, their union representatives and independent research, which shows PRP doesn't work in the public sector. That's why I voted for strike action!
Tony Moss, UK

PRP will make education no longer about teaching, it will take away the little imagination that students have left in schools, to make them individual. PRP will mould students into being sameish, and will make education be not about learning, but about funding the teachers' summer holiday.
Hannah, GCSE student, UK

If schools were producing the well-educated people we needed there would not be a need for PRP. But they are not. Teachers, welcome to the real world your pupils will have to live in.
Andrew, UK

There are many comments about the "real world" and the location of teachers relative to it. I hope all the people who claim to live there themselves also send their children to school there and pay "real world" rates for it.
I strongly suspect that if there was no state education sector and all teachers worked in truly "real world" type free market they would indeed be subjected to the same forces of PRP that exist for others. They would also get paid a great deal more!
Brian Stickle, Scotland



It is not the only tactic, but one of last resort when the present Government will not listen to reasoned argument

Stuart, UK
As a delegate to the NUT conference who listened to the arguments for and against a strike, I voted for the ballot for a one day strike. It is not the only tactic, but one of last resort when the present Government will not listen to reasoned argument, debate and research as to why the current proposals for performance management will not work, as already presented by the NUT.
Stuart, UK

The performance related pay structure for teachers is a good idea, but I also recognise that the associated administrative tasks make teachers jobs harder. Why not (as part of an overall increase in education spending) provide extra administrative assistants for schools to relieve the burden on teachers.
Jim Quittenton, UK



Going to strike over paying teachers who are good at their job more is frankly barking mad.

Paul Steven, Scotland
Don't the unions realise that striking is playing into conservative hands.
People are mixing up too many issues here, forgetting that this is about paying for performance. This can only be a good thing. Teachers who are good at teaching and make a difference (and despite all the howls of protest this is not that difficult thing to do) will be rewarded, those who aren't, won't.
We don't see many complaints about having a promotions system, and this hasn't "ripped apart" the teaching profession.
Going to strike over paying teachers who are good at their job more is frankly barking mad and will be heralded as a return to the loony left days - which truth be told it sounds like even to a labour supporter like me!
Paul Steven, Scotland

I don't think teachers should strike and I don't think they want to, however what can they do to defend themselves from the governments attitude towards them. I am a part time tutor in a higher education college and from my own experience I don't know a teacher who doesn't give 200%. The students are like having your own family and we want them to do well, this inspires all teachers to ensure they do well.
Cliff Thompson, England

It's time to move forward, Teaching is no longer the past time of a select few. The new breed of teachers i.e. Graduates, need to be told they are doing well...what is wrong with the incentive of reward and constructive criticism, can this really be faulted?
Russell Chopping, UK



I would support them if they decided to walk out for six months.

Carl, United Kingdom
With the way teachers are now treated I would support them if they decided to walk out for six months. I do not think one day will make any difference an believe that if they really wish to be heard, something far more drastic needs to be done.
Carl, United Kingdom

I am still young enough to remember how bad some of my teachers were. A common practice in the private sector is 360 degree assessment: you are evaluated by your peers and people under you as well as your boss. Maybe the pupils themselves should have some input into the assessment process.
David Hugh-Jones, UK



Both the strong and the weak were called teachers, only one of them taught us anything.

Christian Moller, England
We all went to school, and on reflection we all had at least one terrible teacher. The comments on this page reflect our primary instinct to hit back at those teachers who failed us. That one teacher we had, who made us work hard, and gained our respect, even at such a young age, we will never forget.
But both the strong and the weak were called teachers, only one of them taught us anything. PRP may expose the weak teachers, but with shortages in strong teachers, who will we use to replace them? Do we understand the consequences of PRP in Schools?
You have already seen how schools bend the rules to increase grade output. On the surface PRP works, dig deeper.
Christian Moller, England



Teachers are professionals, and striking is not professional behaviour.

Gerry, UK
Teachers do have a tough job. I didn't used to think so until my ex girlfriend changed career to become one. The actually amount of work they do is enormous, including a lot of work in holidays.
HOWEVER, I think it is totally unacceptable to go on strike. Teachers are professionals, and striking is not professional behaviour.
We will get the usual words about how reluctant they are to make children suffer, but the fact is the NUT is one of the last bastions of militancy in this country.
Parents should insist on knowing the membership of each union at any school they are considering, and avoid those with a high NUT membership.
Gerry, UK



I have been spat on, hit by one pupil, watched a man walk into my school with the intent of killing a pupil.

Muiris, Wales
I am actively looking for another job, I went into teaching late and have been teaching for six years, in those six years I have been spat on, hit by one pupil, watched a man walk into my school with the intent of killing a pupil (he didn't succeed). Seen a number of teachers have nervous breakdowns, put up with a mother shouting at me at the school gate for telling her son off as he abused me in a shop at lunchtime (he was the same one who hit me and a week later he hit another teacher).
There are good points, I do enjoy seeing a pupil's face when he/she understands something or does something, most of the pupils are lovely but I am sorry that is not enough recompense for all the terrible times. Let the Government take all this into account when it decides whether I am worth an extra 2000 pounds or not, let it wonder why I am tired in class and why I want to get out!
Muiris, Wales

If teachers are good at their jobs as they all claim why are they afraid of being paid by their performance. They have had it easy for too long able to get away with poor performance without any sanction, now they will have to enter the real world with the rest of us.
Andrew Simpson, UK

Hold on a minute this sounds dangerous. If teachers are to be rewarded for the students exam results doesn't that leave the door wide open for cheating and teachers assisting their students in the exams themselves.
Anon, UK

What have teachers got to hide? If they're performing well, they'll be rewarded - if not, they'll be penalised. Looking back to my own school years, I can't see what the Unions have got to complain about!
Adrian Paul Miles, England



Teachers should stop thinking they have a god given right to do what they wish and start delivering a quality service

Mark Lisle, Germany (UK citizen)
Lets face it, the NUT is run by left wing activists who have less concern about the welfare of pupils and more concern about the welfare of their own little careers. I am sick of seeing stories of hard up teachers who work every hour available but as a parent I only see 11 weeks paid leave a year with children off 4 days a year for teacher training days and days off for elections and bank holidays. How many days a year do they actually teach? As an engineer - shoddy workmanship would cost me my job I get 4 weeks leave a year, if I'm lucky and I get rewarded if I do my job well. Teachers should stop thinking they have a god given right to do what they wish and start delivering a quality service for which they get rewarded just like the rest of us.
Mark Lisle, Germany (UK citizen)

In terms of financial rewards, teaching is probably one of the least attractive ones. This should indicate that people don't become teachers for money but for the actual welfare for future generations. The fact that they are going on strike proves how bad the situation is and I truly believe that the government's proposal is a real kick in the teeth for the teachers who slave themselves. Tony, do your country a favour and sort this mess out before it gets too late.
Jimmy Sykes, Brazil

Those who complain about the teachers striking should consider how many days schooling have been lost through broken down heating, unfit buildings and general lack of resources that are the result of the gross under-funding of our education system.
Richard Swain, UK

Providing teachers with the proper resources and an environment conducive to learning and you will have better teachers and students. What do teachers have to put up with? Crowded classrooms, longer hours than most civil servants, below average wages, disruptive students and risk physical harm. I say the teachers should go on strike for a week and let the government and parents have a go at it and see how well they do...
Sheila, USA

If British teachers think they are overworked and underpaid then they should come and have a look at Japan. Teachers here not only work Saturdays and during the summer, but have to help with compulsory club activities after school almost every day (sometimes going on till 7 o'clock) and their pay is still not very good. They do however get a lot of genuine respect, something which - judging from a few of these comments - is sadly lacking in the UK.
Daniel Lock, Japan



Will teachers of low ability sets therefore be discriminated against??

Simon, UK
Teachers get lousy pay for the work that they have to do. They do not just work from 8:30 until 3:30, but frequently have to work until late at night and weekends. Virtually everybody in the private sector gets paid overtime, but teachers do not. Now they are asked to perform more administration to prove that each class they teach is improving to the Governments standards.
Will teachers of low ability sets therefore be discriminated against?? My wife took a pay cut to go from private sector into teaching, and the hours she has to work have doubled. The last thing teachers need is to have an extra load of administration thrown on them. It is not just a case of a 1 hour appraisal once or twice a year as it is with most jobs. But several hours a week.
Simon, UK

It is important that teachers are awarded for good performance. If we believed the advocates of strike action, we would be led to believe that the teacher has no influence in children's academic performance. If this is their argument, how do they justify being called teachers?
Jon Bell, England

Performance related pay schemes do not work. There is no simple and verifiable way to measure a teacher's performance. Without it, it becomes a matter of a manger's personal opinion. This leads to disputes and the demoralising of anyone who can, at the whim of a manager, or by unknown directives from higher management, lose a significant income. The result is an unhappy and unmotivated staff at best and loss of good staff at worst.
John Draper, England



Striking would be as absurd as bank employees walking out if a bonus scheme additional to salaries was introduced.

Tom Barry, UK
The government isn't proposing pay cuts for poor teachers but a 2000 pay rise for good teachers. Why are the unions campaigning against a pay rise for some of their members? The criteria for gaining the extra award are not demanding - any half-decent teacher should be able to achieve them. The policy of rewarding good practice and good teachers is admirable. Striking would be as absurd as bank employees walking out if a bonus scheme additional to salaries was introduced.
Tom Barry, UK

How dare the government pit teacher against teacher like this? Remember it is NOT the idle teachers who are complaining. It is the majority of hard working, over worked, under paid teachers.
What is "performance" in teaching? Is it establishing a rapport with all students, getting exam results or what? The only feasible means of rewarding teachers is to give them the salary they deserve, not give them peanuts and then tell them to justify anything more.
Jonathan Baldwin, UK

How would one measure the performance of a teacher? By the grades (as mentioned above) or by the way the students behave themselves in society, or what?
Introducing performance-pay immediately reduces pupils to something they should not be; products. The more you "turn over" the more you get paid? Get real. I say let them strike for as long as they see fit. It's about time some-one stands up to this neo-liberal market-rubbish.
Jose Fernandez, Netherlands



Teachers are the people who will shape future generations, and they should be given great respect for that.

Andrew Hughes, Wales
Most of my "elder" family, including my parents, are or were teachers. The comment above about 3 month summer holiday is rubbish - I rarely saw my parents. My Dad would come home, have tea, then go back to school for 2-3 hours EVERY night, as there was always too much to do. My mum was always doing school work at home in order to prepare classes for the coming days (as did my Dad at weekends).
Teachers are the people who will shape future generations, and they should be given great respect for that. My parents were both in unions, and even though they were overworked and underpaid they NEVER went on strike. As a note, of all the available professions teaching is the one that my parents insisted I not go into. I wonder why?
Andrew Hughes, Wales

Why the focus on PRP alone? Longer working days coupled (perhaps until 17:30) with more school terms/shorter holidays would bring the cloistered world of academia into the 21st Century!
Mike Thomas, UK



It is about time they stopped moaning and acted constructively in one way or the other.

Dave Hay, UK
Teachers are already generously remunerated for the job they do. If they want to increase their earnings they can either accept performance-related pay or leave the job for a better-paid one. It is about time they stopped moaning and acted constructively in one way or the other.
Dave Hay, UK



If teachers are more and more motivated by money, would they treat children as their business clients?

Christian Bodhi, UK
There is a strong logic in rewording good teachers. But rewarding them with money would inevitably bring corruption. Why would teachers perform well? For love or for money? If teachers are more and more motivated by money, would they treat children as their business clients?
I believe that teachers should be well paid so that they can help children to become good and intelligent human beings rather than useful drones for market forces. Those teachers which perform well should be rewarded with something like free holiday trips, rehabilitation, travel to seminars and symposiums etc.
Christian Bodhi, UK

No, they should pull themselves together and put the kids first.
Fiona, UK



Schools may well opt for entrance exams or other methods to weed out children who are likely to give low scores ... Where will less able children get their education?

Oliver Richardson, United Kingdom
The real losers in this are the less able children. Schools may well opt for entrance exams or other methods to weed out children who are likely to give low scores. I left school just as league tables were being talked about and the head was keen on students dropping out of subjects where it was expected they would not get higher than a grade C. This made the schools results appear more impressive than they were. Where will less able children get their education?
Oliver Richardson, United Kingdom

I have to careful what I say as my sister is a teacher. The only people that agree with this form of action is surprisingly enough - Teachers. We all realise that they have a difficult job to do, but don't we all???
As far as a tax payer is concerned they work no harder than I do yet get a hell of a lot more time off than me. I think that they should accept the inevitable, shut up and get on with it. If I was to whine on the way some of the teachers do then I'm afraid I would be looking elsewhere for alternative employment.
BC, England



Teachers do not need to be made to work harder, and carefully focussed performance related pay would carry the profession on to where it needs to be in today's society.

Jonathan Blake, UK
Teachers should be paid what they deserve. There are some excellent teachers but there are also some very bad ones who don't deserve the same boost. It is a taboo in the profession; what to do about bad teachers? Performance related pay would help root them out.
Teachers do not need to be made to work harder, and carefully focussed performance related pay would carry the profession on to where it needs to be in today's society.
Jonathan Blake, UK

It's Easter, so it's Teacher Whinging season. PRP is the norm in the real world - it's time teachers and other 'conservative' public sector workers understood this.
Jon Blythe, UK

Most parents want (or should want) the best education they can get for their children to help equip them as independent thinking adults. State schools have been failing in that arena with their mind dulling regimented lowest denominator approach.
If performance related pay perks things up then all to the good. Of course if people weren't taxed to pay for these often second rate schools in the first place then we would all be sending children to the private schools that would have arisen in answer to our demands. Whining politically correct busybodies may now damn me as uncaring or whatever.
Judith, UK



Perhaps if they spent more time on teaching and less on complaining than school standards might not be so low.

Nick Pontone, UK
Teachers certainly should NOT strike. They have consistently opposed every single major reform of education policy in the past decade. Perhaps if they spent more time on teaching and less on complaining than school standards might not be so low. I hope that the union leaders views are not really representative of the views of honest, hard working teachers.
Nick Pontone, UK

The chronically sad feature of this debate is that is has been boiled down to the point of taking sides over whether teachers should strike. The more important issues seem to have been discarded. E.g. Why is PRP deemed necessary? Whose interests are served by uniform testing of primary school children? Is this testing really necessary? I confess that I do not know the answer to any of these questions. However it seems more intelligent to ask than to take sides!!
Jonathan, UK

If I were a bad teacher I would welcome this assessment to show me what areas of my skill set I needed to develop. If I were a good teacher I would welcome this as I would get more money. I would only oppose this if I were a politically motivated teacher living in the past.
Paul, UK



Those teachers who work hard and perform deserve the greater rewards. What do they have to fear?

DEM, UK
Why do teachers think they are an exception when it comes to performance? Those teachers who work hard and perform deserve the greater rewards. What do they have to fear? Or is it that those who vote for this are the bad teachers who would lose out and they know it.
DEM, UK

It's about time the Government started to listen to the real experts in teaching - the teachers!
Dr Steve Jones, UK

If teachers really want parity with the private sector, they must accept the same conditions as private-sector professionals; assessment and performance-related pay on an individual basis are part of that deal.
Many of the younger teachers in my wife's school accept that this is the case and resent the blinkered grandstanding of the teaching unions.
Jon Connell, UK

Those of us who live in the real world all have performance-related pay. If teachers aren't happy with their 3-month summer holiday, they can always change jobs.
Richard Smith, England



If it's the only option for the government to listen to teachers, then so be it.

Colin, Netherlands
I can't say that I like such major disruptive strike action, but if it's the only option for the government to listen to teachers, then so be it. Children are all individuals and will grow, learn and develop at their own speed, irrespective or the teacher and I'd consider it unacceptable to link a child's learning to a teacher's wages. Finally, the amount of work and pressure placed on children is stripping them of their childhood.
Colin, Netherlands

Is there just a little sign that teachers are in fact scared of performance related pay?! I wonder why?!
Jonathan, Denmark

Strike or resign. I would probably go for the latter. If the government isn't willing to pay teachers a decent salary, then finding a proper job is the only real solution. The public sector sucks. Find a job in industry!
Dr. S, UK



I agree that pupils' success in different subjects should be linked to teachers' compensation.

Mark M. Newdick, USA/UK
When I was at school in south London during the 1960s, I was taught English, History and Geography extremely well. But when it came to Maths I failed every exam I was ever presented with. I am now an accountant ... I was fortunate in being "retrained" by my employer and my own desire to not be beaten by the subject.
Point being, my interest was not peaked by my teacher, though it was by other teachers in the other subjects. So I agree that pupils' success in different subjects should be linked to teachers' compensation. How that should be achieved, I'll leave to others to pontificate over, but the basic premise of pay for performance is sound.
Mark M. Newdick, USA/UK

Teachers would be wrong to strike as it effects children and parents directly and generally shows teachers in a bad light in the eyes of the public. There are far more effective weapons that the unions could use without losing that ever-important public support. I.e. non-co-operation on development of new A levels etc.
Neil Hodgson, Hong Kong

Many teachers use incentive schemes to entice their pupils to work harder and achieve something at school. So why on earth do they object to a similar scheme for themselves? Is it because so many of them are going to have to pull their finger out?
It's a shame also that so many brilliant, hard-working teachers are let down by idle, politically-motivated colleagues.
James Denning, UK

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24 Apr 00 | Unions 2000
Teachers call for strike ballot
22 Apr 00 | Unions 2000
Teachers snub and heckle minister
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