BBC News

Teachers vote against performance pay

By Katherine Sellgren
BBC News education reporter in Liverpool

image captionThe government says schools should be able to reward good teachers

The Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) has voted unanimously to urge ministers to reinstate a national pay structure for teachers.

Performance-related pay (PRP) will have a "catastrophic effect" on teacher recruitment and retention, the ATL says.

Ministers say PRP will give schools greater freedom over teachers' pay and help them recruit the best staff.

Under the changes, which are expected to come fully into effect in 2014, teachers will no longer receive automatic annual pay rises, but will get annual appraisals with schools deciding on salary levels.

'Higher ideals'

In a priority resolution debated on Tuesday morning, the ATL said it would urge ministers to ditch its plans.

Mark Baker, ATL's junior vice-president, told delegates at the union's annual conference in Liverpool: "Performance-related pay is a mechanism that thwarts teachers' aspirations, that offers leaders the opportunity to reward friends.

"It's not based upon real performance or any addition to a child's learning but on subservience and compliance.

"There is no evidence that performance-related pay works for a profession that has far higher ideals."

ATL general secretary Mary Bousted said: "We have the coalition government's policy to dismantle national pay structures for teachers which will have a catastrophic effect on recruitment and retention of teachers.

"We're going to have the spectre of 23,500 schools creating their own pay structures.

"School leaders, rather than concentrating on teaching and learning, will be concentrating on pay structures."

Dr Bousted said the changes would make it more difficult for "the brightest and best to enter the profession because they don't know how much they're going to be paid".


A Department for Education spokesperson said: "We want to make it easier for schools to reward good performance and attract and retain those teachers who have the greatest impact on their pupils' achievements.

"This will be much fairer than the current arrangements which see the vast majority of teachers automatically getting a pay rise each year.

"We do not think it is fair that a highly effective new entrant, for example, should be paid less than their long-serving but less effective peer."

The emergency debate by the ATL comes after the two largest teaching unions, the National Union of Teachers and NASUWT announced a series of strikes over pay and pensions.

The industrial action is due to begin on 27 June in the north-west of England.

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