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Teachers’ Performance Reviews – One Year On

3 Jan

I        Background and Context

The link between the performance management of headteachers and deputy headteachers in England and the salaries they receive has been in existence since 2000.   However, it was only in September 2013 that all teachers became the subjects of annual performance reviews linked to pay.  Performance reviews go by the name of appraisals in the business world. For the purpose of this article, I will stay with “performance reviews”.

Autumn 2014 saw the end of the first cycle.  During the term, governors formally reviewed how the system worked or didn’t.    The researchers are busily beavering away to assess the success of teachers’ performance linked with pay.  However, it would be apposite to make a few observations based on first-hand experiences and anecdotal evidence, and signal health warnings to improve the process for teachers, school managers and, most important, the children.

In the autumn of 2013, teachers were made aware of the fact that, for the first time, they would not receive increases if they simply performed satisfactorily – or, to use the Ofsted terminology – required improvement.   Previously, a salary increase was withheld only if a teacher was the subject of the capability procedure.

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Support for Performance Related Pay Grows with Teachers

25 Aug

September 2014 will be the end of the first full-year cycle in which teachers’ pay is tied to their performance.   The experiences of school teachers, headteachers and governors have been varied.  However, what is especially significant is that a survey by the National Foundation for Educational Research  (NFER) (see here) commissioned by the Sutton Trust revealed that there is a growing head of steam among teachers to support the link between performance appraisals salaries than when the policy was first introduced by the former secretary of state, Michael Gove.

Teacher appraisals were introduced by the Labour Government in 2000.   Performance reviews had a sharp edge for all staff on the upper pay spine and the leadership scale in that increases were predicated on good, if not outstanding, appraisals.   This was extended to all teachers in September 2013 to take effect a year later.  It replaces increases given to teachers who perform at least satisfactorily – based on their lengths of service.

Altogether, 1,163 teachers were surveyed by the NFER.  Of them, 55% primary and 52% secondary teachers favoured the criteria of good pupil progress and achievements being deployed to determine salary increases.

When asked which criteria should be used to decide on pay progression, the three most popular were the following.

(i)            Assessment by more senior staff – such as line managers. This was supported by 60% of teachers and was more popular among secondary staff.

(ii)           Assessment by the headteachers. This was supported by 54% of teachers and was more popular among primary staff.

(iii)          Consideration of the progress and results of pupils currently taught. This was backed by 53% of teachers.   Continue reading

The Benefits and Pitfalls of Performance Management Pay

24 Apr

On the 27 March 2014, the National Union of Teachers (NUT) called on its members to take strike action against the government’s measures to increase pension contributions, raise the retirement age and institute performance pay.  (Performance management has been running for the last 14 years.) The response of the public was muted, to say the least.   Parents of pupils sent home because of absent teachers, like Queen Victoria, were not amused about having to take time off work to care of their wards.   Over the Easter holidays, 2014, the NUT and NASUWT have been sounding the war drums again and aim to strike again in June.

However, performance pay seems to be here to stay, albeit it has yet to be embedded.   According to right-leaning Policy Exchange, a think tank, performance-related pay would drive up standards.  Notwithstanding, it had a caveat stating that this would have little impact unless schools grasped the nettle of making “difficult decisions” and not give salary increments to those teachers that were deemed “satisfactory” in old English and required improvement in Ofsted’s new terminology.   Continue reading