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We need to get rid of performance-related pay for teachers

(164 Posts)
noblegiraffe Sat 25-Nov-17 16:56:30

We need to get rid of performance-related pay for teachers and reinstate automatic pay progression up the pay scale don't we?

1) Any attempts to measure teacher perfomance are flawed. Payment by results? Top set teachers are laughing, bottom set teachers crying. Payment by observation outcomes? We know these are subjective nonsense to the point that Ofsted have scrapped them. So what could be realistically used that would be fair?

2) In times of extreme budget restraint such as now, schools will be more likely to hold people on lower pay points for spurious reasons

3) Potential lack of pay progression could put off new entrants to teaching in a time of a severe teacher shortage

4) If the only realistic way to see your pay increase to reasonable levels is through promotion, then we will see teachers taking promoted posts without the relevant experience and before they are really ready

5) If you have been teaching for a full extra year, then that experience is valuable and should be rewarded even if it can't quite be quantified

Any objections?

Ropsleybunny Sat 25-Nov-17 16:59:50

None, you're right.

Skatingmama Sat 25-Nov-17 17:00:38

I can see the pitfalls but it's the norm in many other jobs where it also can't be objectively measured.

Agree absolutely.

rubybluesunday Sat 25-Nov-17 17:39:04

I disagree noble. Performance related pay is common in most other professional sectors. It's difficult to assess performance there too, but if done sensibly and fairly it's still effective.

In the school where I'm a governor pay progression is decided by setting staff SMART (specific, measurable, agreed, realistic, timebound) objectives. If they meet their objectives they progress. If they don't then they don't. Simples. The vast majority of staff meet their objectives, so they progress.

It's also worth mentioning that teachers do get a basic inflationary rise. The PRP element is on top of that. This may be obvious to anyone working in the public sector, but less so to people in the private sector where zero pay rise does what it says on the tin. (I've worked for a firm where I got zero pay rise for 2 successive years - that would never happen in the public sector).

RancidOldHag Sat 25-Nov-17 17:52:04

When the public sector is on a major pay-freeze, then there is no annual uplift, but teachers can still get pay rises via PRP. When there is the annual uplift, they can receive both that and PRP. It's a good deal compared to other sectors.

Deciding what counts as sufficient performance for eligibility isn't really harder for teachers than it is for sag surgeons and merits awards - survival rate isn't the be-all-and-end all, and systems can and do come with all sorts of roles.

After all, I've never met a teacher who doesn't know which of there colleagues is exceptional, who are the vast majority who are competent and committed, and which are the few who you woukdn't trust to organise a piss-up in a brewery. Performance matrices should encapsulate exactly that.

SweetSummerchild Sat 25-Nov-17 18:05:21

I can see the benefits and pitfalls in both automatic pay progression and performance-related pay progression.

With automatic progression you can very easily end up with the situation where members of staff end up 'automatically' hitting the top of the pay scale with no real demonstration of increased competence. Some schools used to see threshold as a sort of formality that everyone just went through after M6.

On the other hand, automatic pay progression was seen as a way to mitigate the fact that starting salaries for teachers was pretty shite compared to other graduate professions - particularly those in shortage subjects.

Performance-related pay, on the other hand, is very flawed. It leads to an over-emphasis on the 'measurable' targets and leads to the tick-box culture we now find ourselves as a society ruled by where CEOs award themselves double and triple digit pay rises based on achievement of objectives while everyone around them knows the organisation is going to shit.

It seems that teaching now has the worst of both worlds - shit starting salaries that you cannot get away from unless a great deal of your energy is focused on the hitting of numerical targets and objectives and to hell with everything else.

MiniAlphaBravo Sat 25-Nov-17 18:09:18

ruby teachers do not get an inflationry pay rise. We got 1% this year (been the same for a few years now). Inflation is around 3% so another real terms cut. Wage growth in all sectors is poor at the moment but your post makes out that teachers pay is keeping up with inflation. It isn't and it's worrying that you think this as a governer.

SweetSummerchild Sat 25-Nov-17 18:10:52

Plus, performance related pay is not quite as 'objective' as organisations like to pretend. There is always some 'wriggle room' put into the objectives and professional competencies that means that pay progression can be awarded despite failing to fully meet numerical objectives or denied despite meeting them for 'reasons' that suit the manager. Anyone who argues that it's a level playing field is deluded.

admission Sat 25-Nov-17 18:14:39

I think you need to recognise performance and that can be done in many ways over and above targets about attainment. As Rancidoldhag says it is clear to most who are the good and the poor teachers anyway, so not a great problem. PP based solely on attainment targets is not acceptable.
What concerns me is the idea that for many years in the past, all teachers got both a raise up the scale and also inflation rise (pre 2001) which meant that many very poor teachers were being paid way more than they should have been and nobody could stop it happening. This can not be repeated.

SweetSummerchild Sat 25-Nov-17 18:14:46

Oh and the A in SMART target stands for achievable and not agreed. Mind you, neither are often applicable to the targets set for teachers to achieve for their pay progression.

SweetSummerchild Sat 25-Nov-17 18:18:41

admission I get your point but progression though threshold was always supposed to be based on competence. If that wasn't happening, that was the fault of the schools and not the pay award system.

A teacher only automatically progressed through to M6. Some teachers with relevant industrial experience entered the profession on M3 so only really benefitted from 3 years' worth of automatic progression anyway.

What is M6 worth anyway - £32,000? How does that compare to, say, an IT graduate with 6 years' experience or an accountant? It's hardly an outrageously large salary.

rubybluesunday Sat 25-Nov-17 18:22:13

ruby teachers do not get an inflationry pay rise. We got 1% this year

Yes, I know. I meant "inflationary" in the linked-to-inflation, and goes up every year sense of the word.

I work in the university sector and our annual rises are s*it too, but they're still better than I was getting when I worked for an IT Consultancy that was beholden to shareholders. There they used to rank everyone in order by "performance" and only award pay increases to the top x%, or else they would give 'bonuses' instead because that didn't commit them to paying out the same amount the following year. I was part-time so you can probably guess I didn't rank too highly on the list, despite meeting all my objectives! So don't assume all other graduate professions are better paid, despite what the teaching unions might claim it's a tough market out there in the private sector.

At the end of the day, if teachers feel they are unfairly paid then they will leave and work for another school or sector instead. However schools need a mechanism to retain the best staff, and they also need a mechanism to encourage the dead wood to drift off.

rubybluesunday Sat 25-Nov-17 18:24:51

Oh and the A in SMART target stands for achievable and not agreed

It can stand for either. At our school is stands for agreed. "Realistic" covers the achievability side of things.

noblegiraffe Sat 25-Nov-17 18:28:13

Performance related pay is common in most other professional sectors.

And are those sectors experiencing a critical recruitment and retention crisis?

TBH, the target for each and every teacher could be 'make it through another year of teaching' as that is difficult enough, and the experience gained from making it through another year of teaching is valuable enough to warrant a pay rise.

People wanging on about targets should be aware that there are plenty of schools setting unrealistic targets, targets related to student results and targets that require support that won't be forthcoming.

TheFallenMadonna Sat 25-Nov-17 18:31:26

But it isn't linked to inflation. It is capped.

rubybluesunday Sat 25-Nov-17 18:32:03

What is M6 worth anyway - £32,000? How does that compare to, say, an IT graduate with 6 years' experience or an accountant
A lot of IT graduates are paid less than that. It's a wide ranging profession, with lots of badly paid support roles. The people who get paid the most are self-employed or else have particularly sought-after skills. Of course the best graduates are snapped up by the biggest-name firms and tend to do well (if they toe the line, work like maniacs and meet their objectives).

Similarly with accountants - if you're employed by a big-name firm then your salary will start high and shoot up (till you die of boredom or have a nervous breakdown and leave to do something else), but there are many other routes into accountancy and they don't start off or even reach anywhere near £32k.

SweetSummerchild Sat 25-Nov-17 18:34:28

Sadly noble I think you're likely to face a barrage of 'that's what they do in the private sector' arguments and only those who work in teaching are likely to get where you are coming from.

I'm just waiting for all the other 'benefits' of working in the private sector - the 10% bonus and share-save scheme, plus the paid-for Christmas party.

Sadly, too many aspects of modern working practice have become a race to the bottom. Next we'll be told we shoudln't be entitled to any sick pay either.

TheFallenMadonna Sat 25-Nov-17 18:34:38

I am at the top of UPS. No PRP. No bonus.

rubybluesunday Sat 25-Nov-17 18:38:45

And are those sectors experiencing a critical recruitment and retention crisis

There's a crisis in some subjects and not in others. If we advertise arts, humanities or PE roles we can take our pick from a strong field. If we advertise for maths we're struggling. Computer Science and Physics are impossible.

But the pay structure doesn't allow for any variation in pay between different subjects, and presumably arts and humanities teachers would cry foul if they found themselves being paid less then their peers in the STEM departments.

rubybluesunday Sat 25-Nov-17 18:42:24

the 10% bonus and share-save scheme, plus the paid-for Christmas party.

You're several years out of date. The recession has hit everywhere, and nobody has a paid-for Christmas party these days, not least because the tax man would class it as a taxable benefit.

And in my experience most people in share-save schemes find they're not worth much if anything by the time they mature.

BackforGood Sat 25-Nov-17 18:45:11

Of course you are right. It should never have been introduced in the first place. You can't measure how good a teacher is by the grades their dc achieve. It's just the same as measuring a school's worth by %s getting certain grades or levels at GCSE or SATS - completely floored and dreamed up by someone who knows nothing about schools, about demograph, and about inclusion. It just forces schools to not offer places to those children who have needs that mean they can't ever achieve the government's "norm".
Sorry blush slight tangent, but I've been reminded of it again this week, and it's from the same stable.

OlennasWimple Sat 25-Nov-17 18:47:05

shit starting salaries

The minimum starting salary in all parts of the UK is just over £22k. That's not exactly "shit"

Ttbb Sat 25-Nov-17 19:06:20

I disagree. I agree that measurement and evaluation techniques need to be flexible and take into account factors like selection. However, I think that schools should be rewarding good teachers as opposed to those who just do their time. A lack of meritocracy in pay scales is equally discouraging to new entrants while also having the pitfall of discouraging existing teachers from putting in extra effort because there is not point.

rubybluesunday Sat 25-Nov-17 19:09:14

You can't measure how good a teacher is by the grades their dc achieve

No, but you can measure them by how much progress their students are making against their targets, or by whether a more than x% of their form-group are encouraged to do after-school activities, or by whether they contributed to the extra-curricular life of the school by running a club, whether they organised a school outing, or various other more reasonable measures. It's not rocket science. So long as the objectives are reasonable and agreed at the start of the year with senior leaders who have a good relationship with the staff then it can be made to work.

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