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Thursday, 8 July, 1999, 12:59 GMT 13:59 UK
How teachers can earn 35,000+
Performance pay in the classroom is proving highly emotive
Education ministers have been spelling out to England's schools how their most effective teachers will be able to earn more than 35,000 a year.

Performance-related pay, based on an appraisal system linked to pupils' results, has been strongly opposed by teachers' unions. But the government now says it wants to press ahead with its plans.

estelle morris
Estelle Morris: "Nobody has to do this"
In a report on the consultation over the proposals to reform teachers' pay and conditions, the School Standards Minister, Estelle Morris, told journalists: "Teachers should see this as an opportunity not a threat.

"For years, teachers have complained that they have to be promoted out of the classroom for better pay," she said.

"Now good, effective classroom teachers will be rewarded for being good, effective classroom teachers."

Providing more details of the proposed pay restructuring, the minister said teachers would get an extra 2,000 per year if they passed a performance threshold.

New grades

Beyond that, teachers would apply for four higher grades of ability - "performance points" - which would each be worth 800 to 1,000.

With allowances for management responsibilities such as head of department, this could put a classroom teacher on to 35,000 a year or - for advanced skills teachers - over 40,000.

Ms Morris also emphasised the linking between pupils' results and pay - but promised that this would not be a "simplistic Victorian approach to payment by results but would recognise that different classes had different starting points".

Despite a majority of the 41,000 responses to the government's Green Paper being opposed to the linking of pay to performance, the minister said that more teachers were beginning to accept the need for reform.

She stressed that this would be voluntary - teachers did not have to be rewarded if they did not want to be, as she put it.

'Significant progress'

The Education Secretary, David Blunkett, has written to schools setting out the results of the consultation.

"There are some specific areas where we feel significant progress has been made," he says.

"I have been particularly grateful for the many practical suggestions we have received from headteachers' associations, individual schools and from teaching associations on how to improve the effectiveness of our proposals.

"There is, however, no question of backing off the commitment to the new structure and a return to simply paying more across the board."

Management consultants

Mr Blunkett said in his letter that assessing effectiveness must involve looking at how well teachers achieve objectives which relate to their pupils' progress, recognising those pupils' prior attainment.

Hay Management Consultants have begun a research project into effective teaching, to meet concerns that arrangements for the threshold and for performance management should be based on recognised models of good teaching and had been tested with teachers.

The Department for Education says that the people who will assess teachers' suitability to go through the 'performance threshold', and those who will advise headteachers on carrying out appraisals, will be central to the new system.

It will be inviting contractors to express an interest in supplying those advisers and assessors.

See also:

08 Apr 99 | Green Paper
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