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Tuesday, 17 April, 2001, 00:06 GMT 01:06 UK
Teachers vote for appraisal boycott
NUT conference
The vote was the first victory for left wingers
By Sean Coughlan at the National Union of Teachers' conference in Cardiff.

Teachers have voted for a boycott of a new appraisal process - a decision which the government has attacked as "particularly silly".

The National Union of Teachers' annual conference in Cardiff has voted for a national ballot on a boycott of "performance management", which will set targets and measure the progress of teachers.

The vote, which marks the first significant victory for the left wing at the conference, calls for a boycott of this "machinery" of performance pay, which delegates say would create "an atmosphere of distrust" in the staffroom.

This boycott would not prevent teachers from applying for performance pay, but it could affect their progress up the pay scale once they had crossed the performance pay "threshold".

The prospect of teachers blocking their own access to higher pay prompted a senior government source to describe the decision as "particularly silly, given that performance management is already enabling 150,000 teachers to get a substantial pay rise".

200,000 already applied

The union says that it wants to ensure that the appraisal system, once introduced, is kept separate from evaluations for performance pay.

But the union's general secretary Doug McAvoy indicated that a boycott ballot could be avoided if the talks about to begin with the government over workload were widened to take in performance management.

In his speech to conference he said that the union was not opposed to the principle of performance management, but the way that it could be put into practice.

Performance pay offers teachers an initial increase of 2,000 and access to a higher pay scale.

Earlier in the conference the Education Secretary David Blunkett indicated that a large majority of the 200,000 teachers who applied will cross the "threshold" and receive the higher rate of pay.

The NUT has opposed the introduction of performance pay since it was first proposed by the government, claiming that such "payment by results" were unfair and divisive.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Rory Maclean
"The government are taking a tough line on bad behaviour by pupils"
See also:

28 Jul 00 | Teachers Pay
22 Nov 00 | Teachers Pay
31 Mar 00 | Teachers Pay
Links to more Education stories are at the foot of the page.


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