Ofsted chief angers unions with 'work harder' comments

Sir Michael Wilshaw Sir Michael Wilshaw wants schools to be more selective when awarding teachers pay rises

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Teachers' leaders have criticised England's chief inspector of schools after he said they must work extra hours if they want a pay rise.

Sir Michael Wilshaw also told the Times that teachers who were "out the gate at 3pm" should not be promoted.

Members of staff who went the "extra mile", Sir Michael explained, would be paid well and receive promotion.

His comments angered the National Union of Teachers, which said wages should not be decided at the school level.

NUT deputy general secretary Kevin Courtney said Sir Michael's remarks increased fears that he "wants to be at war with teachers in this country".

"Teachers' pay should not be determined by head teachers at the school level. We don't want a system where head teachers pick and choose favourites for pay rises," he added.

'Playing politics'

Earlier this month the union voted in favour of strikes over pay. It has warned of joint strikes with another teaching union, the NASUWT.

The general secretary of the NASUWT, Chris Keates, accused Sir Michael of being a "mouthpiece for myths and misinformation."

She said: "It is time Michael Wilshaw stopped playing politics and doing the bidding of the secretary of state - and engaged in a serious debate about how to promote excellence throughout the education system.


If the Ofsted chief's comments on pay have sparked strong responses from teachers' unions, it is because they touch on raw nerves.

Rumbling away in the background for months has been the controversial suggestion that teachers' pay should not be settled by a national deal but on a regional, local or individual school basis.

Academies can already set their own pay, but they have not necessarily wanted to exercise these powers.

Any further push in that direction would raise tensions between teachers' unions and the coalition.

Sir Michael's intervention over teachers' pay will also re-ignite the accusation from unions that Ofsted's direction of travel is too closely dovetailed with government policy.

Ofsted has never exactly been popular among teachers, but this year's teachers' union conferences saw particularly intense attacks on its alleged lack of independence.

And anyone who has ever known a teacher will know that the quickest way to annoy them is to suggest that their working day ends when the school bell rings.

"Teachers are in the second year of a public sector pay freeze, and evidence shows that teachers who have earned pay progression are being denied it."

Justify rises

In the Times interview Sir Michael, who is head of Ofsted, said: "In last year's [annual] report, we said that 40% of lessons overall were not good enough. And yet everyone is getting a pay rise. Hey! Something is wrong with the system."

He said that school inspectors had been told to challenge head teachers and governors to justify pay rises to teachers and to give a lower rating to schools that increase staff pay without good reason.

He also wants schools to be more selective when awarding pay rises to teachers.

He said: "It will mean some will get pay rises, some won't.

"As a head I would make it clear that if you teach well or try to teach well, if you work hard and go the extra mile, you are going to get paid well. You are going to be promoted. Somebody who is out the gate at 3 o'clock in the afternoon is not. Isn't that fair? Am I being unfair?"

Sir Michael also said any teacher who did not wish to act as a surrogate parent in poor areas to pupils who lacked support at home did not deserve a salary increase.

He said: "We just have to accept the reality of that. If you are going to go and work in these areas, there has to be a commitment to working beyond the end of the school day.

"That's why I asked those questions about performance management. It's about recognising those people who do go the extra mile."

In response to Sir Michael's interview, an Ofsted spokeswoman said the organisation's inspections of schools were "based on the quality of teaching and learning."

"Teachers' pay should reflect their performance, and should correlate with their career progression," she said.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 675.

    @ 654, I did say, that it doesn't have to be perfect, but readable would be good.

  • rate this

    Comment number 674.


    I'm sure you are absolutely correct, most teachers would probably be unemployable outside of teaching. The reason being there are no jobs for people who have received an education in a degree that is considered important enough to teach kids. For example if you're a scientist you have got to be a science teacher the only private sector jobs are unskilled or for bulls**t merchants.

  • rate this

    Comment number 673.

    Given the overwhelming percentage of state schools are now or about to become academies and accountable to their own Boards, what is the purpose or point of Ofsted, Sir Michael?

  • rate this

    Comment number 672.

    Rewarding and penalising performance through pay is normal for most people. It creates an inequality which is an uncomfortable emotion. It also creates a motivation which is essential for improving the overall performance. I think his comments have been abridged for headline purposes but am broadly supportive.

  • rate this

    Comment number 671.

    Wilshaw is a complete oaf. Perhaps he would like to teach 106 students English Language and Literature in 6 classes; three different syllabi; four age levels and for 35 periods a week with homework and classwork marking and recording as well. I also have to plan daily, weekly and termly too. Hours per week at least 60 but often more.

  • rate this

    Comment number 670.

    I taught Physics for 32 years. I loved classroom teaching, but the continual target setting and interference from OFSTED (the most incompetent organisation I ever had contact with) meant that at 56, I retired; I could afford to and didn't need the long hours and stress.

    I still go back on supply and see the fatigue which causes so many able young teachers to leave the profession early.

  • Comment number 669.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 668.

    In my school there are 34 pupils a class so on average 102 books a night - 2 to 5 minutes marking a book– do the calculation. After you have done all of this, you can unwind by switching on the news and listen to another round of teacher bashing of course. They are completely dedicated professionals who are sick of politicians and their sweeping, damning statements criticising their hard work.

  • rate this

    Comment number 667.

    this man is bonkers.

  • rate this

    Comment number 666.

    I have just read some comments about an admin bod who saw teachers leave at three. Whilst I am surprised that they had enough time to watch the clock and pay attention to who came in or out (our admin staff are usually flat out), I am actually shocked that you thought planning, marking, meetings, admin, detentions, resource prep could be done in that time! Did you think they were magicians?

  • rate this

    Comment number 665.

    In every job there are those who work harder than others. In teaching all good teachers work considerable hours, be it in school or at home. What we should all be doing is working on a system where those who do not undertake this vocation with passion are shown how to do it properly or helped to move on to a different career

  • rate this

    Comment number 664.

    Some individuals may not pull their weight, but generally teachers work a shard as humanly possible, which is why the average career length is about 7 years, apparently. When was the last time Wilshaw did a full term's teaching, prior to becoming an arm-chair general? I am so glad that I am not a teacher. It is little use teachers working harder if many students won't. Ah politics!

  • rate this

    Comment number 663.

    I wonder when the politicians and the rest of us are going to stop expecting 110% from everybody all the time...it;s not just teachers....putting it bluntly everyone is getting knackered with this trying to live up to unrealistic expectations. Whatever happened to the average person....you either fail or are exceptional these days or you don't count. We can't all be perfect...accept averages

  • rate this

    Comment number 662.

    617.aldogrism - 20% of kids leave school functionally illiterate and / or innumerate. This would seem to indicate that a number of teachers have stopped caring about 'intangibles' like education.

  • rate this

    Comment number 661.

    The last OFSTED a member of my family undertook was conducted by a teacher she had worked with several years ago; and she knew he was a completely hopeless teacher. Who judges the judges?
    When will we be brave enough to dismantle their ‘performance management’ (misnomer) bureaucracies? They only add cost and reduce quality by distorting the system to meet their arbitrary targets!

  • rate this

    Comment number 660.

    My favourite Two Michaels sketch was "fork handles".

  • rate this

    Comment number 659.

    Staying at school until late in the evening does not equate to 'working harder' nor does it reflect the quality of teaching. The best teaching occurs when staff get some time at the end of a gruelling day to refresh so they have something to give the next day. You can't get blood out of a stone. Wilshaw should understand that if he was the super head he was supposed to be.

  • rate this

    Comment number 658.

    Marking can often be done during lesson time and then holidays and weekends and evenings are free."

    You are referring to some imaginary teacher ignoring the class while marking a pile of books? I love Bad Education too!

    However, going around and giving feedback and 'next steps' as children work is very valuable and proven effective. In fact, it is the vital part of our role.

  • rate this

    Comment number 657.


    I totally agree I have just finished a 6 hour voluntary shift. I suggest you go and do the same. Typing about it online is not the same as actually doing it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 656.

    "A radical shake-up of teachers and standards is needed". .. please ask Miachel Gove how employing unqualified teachers is going to achieve that? I'd love to know.

    If we didn't have to spend so much time photocopying, putting up displays, and being surrogate parents, then perhaps we'd have more time to focus on standards.


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