Reforms to teachers' pay ‘will mean bigger class sizes’

Chief schools inspector says heads will be forced to choose – small pupil groups or well paid staff

Children will face larger class sizes as a result of the plan to let heads award higher pay rises to good teachers, the chief schools inspector has warned.

Heads would have to decide whether to opt for highly-paid quality staff or retain teaching pupils in small groups, Sir Michael Wilshaw said, adding: “You can’t have both.”

The Government is scrapping incremental pay rises for teaching staff from September and allowing heads to introduce their own individual performance-related pay schemes in their schools.

Sir Michael, chief executive of education standards watchdog Ofsted and a former headteacher himself, said: “My view has always been – not as HMCI (chief inspector) but an ex-headteacher – I always said to the staff: ‘I want to reward those of you who are prepared to commit yourself to the school and go a good job in the classroom. To do that might mean that we have larger classes.”

He added: “You can’t have small classes – small groups – and a highly paid staff.”

Headteachers would have to persuade their teachers to “get on board” with the new scheme by saying: “Now I want a highly paid staff but the problem is that we are going to have to reorganise the way we organise our curriculum and our group sizes within the school.”

Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, described the decision as an “invidious choice no headteacher or governor would want to make”.

“It gives the lie to the idea that changes to teachers’ pay are a free chance for heads and governors to pay ‘good teachers’ more,” she added. “The simple fact is there is no more money in the pot.”

Education Secretary Michael Gove is in earnest discussions with the Treasury over the education budget and wants to retain the pledge made by David Cameron at the start of the coalition that it will be ring-fenced against cuts. However, he is understood to be under pressure to accept a reduction as part of the comprehensive spending review settlement.

Sir Michael made it clear during the seminar that he is an enthusiastic support of performance related pay for teachers – it was part of the package that enabled him to make his school, Mossbourne Academy on the site of the former failing Hackney Downs school in London, one of the most successful in the country.

He said it was a “nonsense” that inspectors were visiting failing schools where the majority of the teachers were at the top of the pay scale.

“It’s a nonsense that promotion through incremental progression should not be linked to the quality of teaching,” he said. “I met in the course of my headship career teachers who aren’t committed and still expect a salary increase.”

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “It is vital that schools can recruit and reward the best teachers. We are reforming pay so schools can attract and retain the best teachers who have the greatest impact on their pupils' achievements.

“We expect heads to be able to judge what is best for their pupils.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Ashdown Group: Systems Engineer - Linux - Central London

£40000 - £48000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Engineer - Linux ...

Ashdown Group: Linux Systems Administrator - Windows, Linux - Central London

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Linux Systems Administrat...

Recruitment Genius: Nursery Manager

£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Nursery Manager is required t...

Ashdown Group: Systems Engineer - Windows, Linux - Central London

£40000 - £48000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Engineer - Windo...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk