Press release

All schools to get freedom to pay good teachers more

The School Teachers' Review Body (STRB) has called on the government to link teachers’ pay more closely to their performance.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

An independent review body has called on the Government to link teachers’ pay more closely to their performance.

The School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB), which makes recommendations to Government on teachers’ pay reforms, is calling for greater freedom for schools to set teachers’ pay.

In its report published today (Wednesday) it recommends a simpler, more flexible national pay framework for teachers. Taking on board international evidence and views from Government, employers, and teacher and head teacher unions, it proposes:

  • ending pay increases based on length of service - currently virtually all full time classroom teachers on the main pay scale automatically progress to the next pay point;
  • linking all teachers’ pay progression to performance, based on annual appraisals - already the case for some teachers who are on a higher pay scale;
  • abolishing mandatory pay points within the pay scales for classroom teachers to give schools greater freedom on how much teachers are paid. They would remain in place for reference only in the main pay scale to guide career expectations for new teachers entering the profession; and
  • retaining the higher pay bands for London and fringe areas.

Dame Patricia Hodgson, Chair of the STRB, said:

We believe our recommendations will help schools to recruit, retain and reward the best teachers. It will give heads freedom to manage teachers’ pay according to pupil needs and local circumstances, within a fair national framework.

Subject to a statutory consultation, the Coalition Government intends to accept the key recommendations.

The Chancellor, as confirmed in last year’s Autumn Statement, set out an uplift for public sector pay of up to one per cent. The statutory minima and maxima for classroom teachers’ pay will be uprated by one per cent in each year, 2013-14 and 2014-15. Schools are free to determine the extent of pay uplifts to teachers within the statutory minima and maxima, and will be able to provide an uplift of one per cent, in line with any overall uplift in pay in the public sector, if they so choose.

Education Secretary Michael Gove said:

These recommendations will make teaching a more attractive career and a more rewarding job. They will give schools greater flexibility to respond to specific conditions and reward their best teachers.

It is vital that teachers can be paid more without having to leave the classroom. This will be particularly important to schools in the most disadvantaged areas as it will empower them to attract and recruit the best teachers.

I am grateful for the careful consideration which the STRB has given to these matters. Subject to the consultation, I intend to accept all of the key recommendations.

In February this year, the Secretary of State commissioned the STRB to consider how reforms could be made to help address the quality of teaching, along with raising the status of the profession and supporting the recruitment and retention of teachers in different areas of the country. The STRB gathered evidence from a wide range of stakeholders, including the Government, governors’ associations, and teacher and head teacher unions in reaching its final recommendations.

Evidence shows that improving the quality of teaching is essential to driving up standards in schools. Pupils taught by good teachers score nearly half a GCSE point more per subject than pupils taught by poor teachers. The impact is even more significant for pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds, according to the Sutton Trust. For poor pupils, the difference between a very good teacher and a bad teacher may be a whole year’s education.

Under the current system for teachers’ pay:

  • automatic pay progression means there is a poor link between a teacher’s performance and reward; and
  • schools in some parts of the country struggle to recruit and retain good teachers.

Subject to the statutory consultation, the changes would come into effect from September 2013.


Notes to editors

This relates to England and Wales.

  1. The School Teachers’ Review Body report and the Government’s response are available on the teachers’ pay section of the Department for Education’s website. The key recommendations, which the Government has accepted, are: * Replacement of increments based on length of service by differentiated progression through the main pay scale to reward excellence and performance improvement. * Extension to all teachers of pay progression linked to annual appraisal (which is already established for more senior teachers). Appraisal should be against a single set of teaching standards, and individual objectives, with a strong emphasis on professional development. * Abolition of mandatory pay points within the pay scales for classroom teachers, to enable individual pay decisions, but with retention at present of points for reference only in the main pay scale, to guide career expectations for entrants to the profession. * Retention of a broad national framework, including the higher pay bands for London and fringe areas and an upper pay scale as a career path for experienced teachers who make a wider contribution to the school. * Replacement of the unnecessarily detailed threshold test for progression from the main to the upper pay scale, with simple criteria based on one set of teacher standards. This will create a consistent progression path from graduate entry to the top of the upper pay scale and allow schools to promote the best teachers more rapidly. * Local flexibility for schools to create posts paying salaries above the upper pay scale, enabling some of the very best teachers to remain in the classroom and lead the improvement of teaching skills. * More discretion for schools in the use of allowances for recruitment and retention and freedom to pay fixed-term responsibility allowances of up to £2,500 a year for time-limited projects. * Reinforcement of the responsibility of head teachers to manage staff and resources and of governing bodies to hold school leaders to account for managing and rewarding the performance of teachers in the interests of pupils. * On the basis of the above, a much simplified School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document, including a brief guide to the national framework and the flexibilities open to schools. The STRB has also made a number of further recommendations linked to the implementation of the main recommendations. The Government proposes to accept these in principle, but notes that there are some areas where it may wish to ask the STRB for further consideration in the future, as well as considering whether they represent the most effective way to implement the key recommendations.

  2. On 21 February 2012, the Secretary of State for Education asked the STRB to review current provisions for teachers’ pay with a view to raising the status of the profession and contributing to improving the standard of teaching in our schools. In particular the Secretary of State asked the STRB to: * make recommendations for reducing rigidity within the pay system so that it best supports the recruitment and retention of high quality teachers in all schools * consider how teachers’ pay could be better linked to performance and whether there are existing barriers to this within the current system * put forward recommendations on how to make teachers’ pay more market-facing, following the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s letter to pay review bodies of 7 December.

Read a copy of the remit letter.

  1. University of Bristol research on the impact of the quality of teachers on attainment, “Do teachers matter? Measuring the variation in teacher effectiveness in England”, can be found on the University of Bristol’s website.

  2. Sutton Trust research on teaching and its impact on pupil performance, “Improving the impact of teachers on pupil achievement in the UK - interim findings, September 2011” can be found on the Sutton Trust’s website.

  3. The Government’s Initial Teaching Training strategy - Training our next generation of outstanding teachers - published last year can be found on the Department for Education’s website. It sets out a series of reforms to recruit the very best into teaching and a greater role for schools in training. This includes: * encouraging more primary specialist teachers to be trained; * offering graduates with first-class degrees in physics, chemistry, maths and modern foreign languages significantly better financial incentives to train as teachers; * requiring all trainees to have high standards of mathematics and English by requiring trainees to pass a tougher literacy and numeracy tests before they start training; * allowing and encouraging schools to lead their own high-quality initial teacher training; and * giving schools a stronger influence over the content of ITT training as well as the recruitment and selection of trainees.

  4. The School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB) considers aspects of teachers’ pay and conditions for just under half a million teachers and school leaders in England and Wales. Its work has a direct impact on teachers and head teachers and through them on the education of children. The STRB was established under the terms of the School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Act 1991 (as replaced by the Education Act 2002). It is a statutory independent advisory body. Its function is to consider matters referred to it by the Secretary of State for Education in relation to the remuneration, professional duties or working time of school teachers and to report to the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State.

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Published 5 December 2012