Tuesday, 1 May 2012

For one time only...I agree with the NUT - payment by results for teachers is a daft idea


...on teachers' performance pay. The proposals "from MPs" should the sort of appreciation of reward structures that gave us over-paid useless bankers:

Schools minister Nick Gibb said the government has asked the school teachers' review body – which considers matters relating to teachers' pay, duties and working time – to make recommendations on introducing "greater freedoms and flexibilities" in teachers' pay, including how to link it more closely to performance.

And the chosen measure is something called "added value" - which is a pretty discredited metric and was designed anyway to assess whole school performance over several years not individual teacher performance over one year. And in the USA where teacher 'ratings' are widely used, there's precious little evidence that these act to raise overall educational outcomes (which is, I guess, the whole point of the exercise).

The relatively simple 'appraisal bar' approach that already exists in the pay scales should be adequate and, more to the point, the decisions as to reward should fall to school management teams not be set by some bunch of bureaucrats down in Whitehall. And certainly not in response to a report from a bunch of MPs.

There's no doubt that schools find getting rid of underperforming teachers quite difficult but not giving them a pay rise isn't going to make them either leave or perform better. Do we really think that the teacher stood in front of a class is thinking; "I'll be extra good here and I'll get a pay rise or a bonus"? Of course they aren't and if they were, we would be a little worried about their vocation for the job.

School heads know who are the good and bad teachers - we just need to give them the "freedoms and flexibilities" to manage. And more complicated and often misleading performance measurement will just cost money without raising standards.

And in the end Christine Blowers (for once) is right:

Payment by results is total nonsense. Children are not tins of beans and schools are not factory production lines. Successful schools rely on a collegiate approach and team working.


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