Teaching study to help select high-paid elite

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The Independent Online

A study into what makes a good teacher carried out on behalf of the Government for £4 million by private consultants has found that they create "a good classroom climate" and have "a high expectation of their pupils".

A study into what makes a good teacher carried out on behalf of the Government for £4 million by private consultants has found that they create "a good classroom climate" and have "a high expectation of their pupils".

But the programme has run into criticism even before it was published. Last night, Nigel de Gruchy, general secretary of the second biggest classroom union, the National Association of School Masters Union of Women Teachers, questioned why it had been necessary to spend money discovering what everyone already knows.

He said: "It's a very expensive way of arriving at fairly obvious conclusions which could have been provided by civil servants or teaching unions for nothing."

"It's a misuse of public funds, particularly when you're supposedly cutting down on bureacracy and red tape," he added.

The complete study will be published in "dictionary form" and will be used as part of the Government's strategy to target pay rises at the top classroom performers.

The guide will be used to identify which staff should join a new élite pay scale later this year.

The research, which started last summer, has been conducted by the international consultants Hay McBer. It will be released on the web this Friday, before being sent out to schools.

The project has been entangled in controversy because their final conclusions, described as a "dictionary of competences", will be used to help measure teachers for the new, higher pay scale which comes into place this autumn, starting with a £2,000 rise.

The new salaries will take selected teachers beyond the current limit of £24,000 and will eventually offer up to £30,000, previously only available to those who move into management.

The scheme has caused anger in the profession where, according to the unions, it has damaged morale by creating winners and losers. However, most of those eligible to apply for the money, between 200,000 and 250,000, are thought to have done so.

Frank Hartle, the consultant who led the project, said the research had involved questionnaires and focus groups as well as the detailed studies of individual teachers.

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