News story

New pay policies reward best teachers

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

Headteachers at all state schools will be able to link teachers’ pay to performance from the start of this term – allowing them to pay good teachers more.

New pay policies give heads and governors the freedom to reward their staff. Academies already had the autonomy to do this and from now on all maintained schools also have that freedom.

Heads can develop pay policies tailored to their schools’ needs, helping them attract and retain talented teachers in the subject areas they know they need.

The changes follow recommendations made by the independent School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB), which last year called on the government to link teachers’ pay more closely to performance.

Evidence shows that improving the quality of teaching is essential to raising standards in schools. According to the Sutton Trust, the difference between a very good teacher and a bad teacher may be equivalent to a whole year’s education for a disadvantaged pupil.

A Populus poll in July revealed that a majority of the British public support these plans. 61% of people surveyed said they believed schools should be free to set the pay of individual teachers based on the quality of their performance.

Education Secretary Michael Gove said:

Linking teachers’ pay to performance will make teaching a more attractive career and a more rewarding job. It 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.

The new national pay framework for teachers is set out in the School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document (STPCD). This is simpler and more flexible than the previous lengthy and complex document. The new national pay framework:

  • ends pay increases based on length of service – until now, virtually all full-time classroom teachers on the main pay scale automatically progressed to the next pay point
  • links all teachers’ pay progression to performance, based on annual appraisals – already the case for some teachers who are on a higher pay range
  • scraps mandatory pay points within the pay ranges for classroom teachers to give schools greater freedom on how much teachers are paid. They will remain in place for reference only in the main pay range to guide career expectations for new teachers entering the profession
  • retains the higher pay bands for London and fringe areas

It is up to each school to decide how to implement new pay arrangements for performance-related pay. Schools will have already been preparing to implement revised pay and appraisal policies setting out how pay progression will link to a teacher’s performance ready for the new academic year. The first performance-linked pay increases will be made from September 2014.

Amanda Phillips, headteacher at Old Ford Primary School and Culloden Primary School in Tower Hamlets, east London, will, from the start of this academic year, base teachers’ pay progression on how each individual teacher performs against the Teachers’ Standards (the framework setting out what is expected of teachers in order to fulfil their role).

Teachers will be robustly assessed on a range of factors. These include, amongst others, being able to demonstrate all aspects of their teaching are at least good, that significant numbers of their pupils are making progress in English and mathematics above national expectations, that they have modelled lessons for the National Teaching School and that he or she has for instance managed an initial teacher training (ITT) student. If they meet all their objectives, they might receive a pay rise between £3,068 to £5,511, rather than the £1,495 they would have received under the old system.

Progression up the main pay range depends on performance but need not be limited to 1 pay point per year – meaning excellent teachers could progress faster.

Amanda Phillips said:

Bringing better teachers into schools and removing underperforming teachers will have a positive impact on the quality of teaching in schools, which will in turn improve pupils’ standards and overall performance. This needs to happen in all schools.

We welcome the new powers available from the reforms to reward the best and tackle underperformance. We have always worked on the principle that you will be remunerated for doing a good job.

Hannah MacLean, a teacher and science manager at Culloden Primary School, said:

Performance-related pay has been used to good effect in the private sector as both a motivator and a reward for people who do a good job, so I feel it would do the same in teaching.

Parbold Douglas Church of England Academy near Wigan, west Lancashire, is a high-performing primary school and a national teaching school.

Teachers’ pay progression is based on teachers meeting specific targets that are agreed as part of their performance management arrangements. Some targets, if met, will entitle a member of staff to pay progression, whereas others will lead to a one-off bonus payment. Staff may choose the level of targets that they wish to work towards in any particular year.

Paul Smith, principal of Parbold Douglas Church of England Academy, said:

With more freedom on pay and robust appraisal policies we can better reward those staff that transform children’s lives and life chances. Dedicated, hardworking and effective teachers have nothing to fear from these changes. Indeed they should be seen as an opportunity to be rewarded for the hard work and dedication that many of us bring to the job.

When we became an academy we took the opportunity to look at pay appraisal policies from some of the leading countries in the world, where there is a focus for rewarding staff for the impact they have on children’s lives and outcomes, rather than just ‘time served’.

Bill Holledge, headteacher at Great Yarmouth Primary Academy, in Norfolk, said:

School leaders should have the flexibility to pay staff in a way which reflects the contribution they make to the organisation and, more importantly, the pupils within it. Experience must not be confused with performance. This does not mean that experience never co-exists with teaching prowess – merely that experience is not, in and of itself, a guarantee of excellent classroom teaching. It is only fair and just that pay should reflect a teacher’s ability to transform young lives through the quality of their practice.

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