Schools to link pay to performance

Autumn Statement 2012: The government is to consult on proposals for schools to have the freedom to set pay in line with performance.

This will be based on recommendations made in a report by the School Teachers’ Review Body. These are intended to create a pay framework that seeks to raise the status of the profession, support professional development and reward individuals in line with their contribution to improving pupil outcomes. This would enable successful teachers to progress faster than they are currently able to do under annual appraisals.

They would also provide greater autonomy for schools to set teachers’ pay within a broad national framework.

The review bodies’ key recommendations for change are:

  • Replacement of increments based on length of service by differentiated progression through the main scale to reward excellence and performance improvement.
  • Extension to all teachers of pay progression linked to annual appraisal (which is already established for more senior teachers). Appraisal should be against a single set of teacher standards and individual objectives, with a strong emphasis on professional development.
  • Abolition of mandatory pay points within the pay scales for classroom teachers.
  • Retention of a broad national framework, including the higher pay bands for London and fringe areas and an upper pay scale as a career path for experienced teachers who make a wider contribution within a school.
  • Replacement of the detailed threshold test for progression from the main to the upper pay scale, with simple criteria based on one set of teacher standards. This will create a consistent progression path from graduate entry to the top of the upper pay scale and allow schools to promote the best teachers more rapidly.
  • Local flexibility for schools to create posts paying salaries above the upper pay scale.
  • More discretion for schools to use allowances for recruitment and retention and freedom to pay fixed-term responsibility allowances of up to £2,500 a year for time-limited projects.
  • Reinforcement of the responsibility of head teachers to manage staff and resources and of governing bodies to hold school leaders to account for managing and rewarding the performance of teachers in the interests of pupils.
  • On the basis of the above, produce a much simplified School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document.

Daniel Hibbert, partner at Mercer, said: “The proposal to give more flexibility to schools to link teachers’ pay to performance could herald an interesting change in direction in the operation of public sector pay.

“It will interesting to see if schools themselves have the appetite to take advantage of these new flexibilities: free schools already have the power to set their own terms and conditions and it is notable that independent schools do not normally link pay to performance, even though they have the freedom to do this.”