Teachers threaten walkouts in row over Government salary shake-up

Teaching unions say members will expect them to respond to radical reforms in a "vigorous fashion"

Poorly performing teachers could see their pay effectively frozen for years on end while those who do well get bumper rises, under a radical shake-up of school salaries announced by the Government today.

In a move which teaching unions predicted could lead to widespread classroom walkouts ministers announced that all future pay rises above the £21,000 minimum would be entirely at the discretion of headteachers.

Schools will also be free to save on their staffing bill by not giving their teachers pay rises and diverting the money to other areas of expenditure.

The move will effectively end the national regulation of teachers' pay which has existed in England and Wales since the 1920s.

Two of the largest teaching unions who together represent nine out of ten classroom teachers are to meet next week to discuss their response to the plan. They already have a mandate to call strike action over pay and tonight said their members would expect them to respond “in a vigorous fashion”.

At present teachers get automatic pay rises of around £2,000 a year up to a maximum of £31,000. To rise beyond that they have to take on additional responsibilities up to a maximum pay rate of around £57,000 a year.

But under proposals from School Teachers Review Body (STRB) which has been backed by the Education Secretary Michael Gove this will all change.

In future beyond the minimum starting salary of £21,804 for a newly qualified teacher schools will be free to award pay rises entirely on merit. This will be determined by annual performance assessment reviews and in certain cases linked to pupil’s exam results.

The Government claims the move will allow headteachers the freedom to stop good teachers leaving the profession by increasing their pay significantly while not automatically giving pay rises to poor performers. 

The proposals are now subject to consultation, and, if agreed, will be introduced in September next year.

“These recommendations will make teaching a more attractive career and a more rewarding job,” said Mr Gove.

“They will give schools greater flexibility to respond to specific conditions and reward their best teachers.

“It is vital that teachers can be paid more without having to leave the classroom. This will be particularly important to schools in the most disadvantaged areas as it will empower them to attract and recruit the best teachers.”

However unions argue that the proposals are unfai, will tie headteachers up in bureaucracy and end the “collegiate” atmosphere in schools.

Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers (NUT), said the plans would infuriate teachers.

“This is not the way we think schools should work,” she said.

“We already have a problem of retaining good teachers and one of the attractions of the profession has been the guaranteed rates of increment. Not only will this remove that but it will also tie headteachers up in time consuming bureaucracy when they could better spend their time running their school.

“There is already a huge amount of anger about the erosion of our members pay and conditions and while we would never take strike action lightly we obviously have an obligation to reflect the views of our members.”

Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT added: “The war on teachers waged by the coalition government continues.

“If implemented, these recommendations would leave behind the wreckage of a national pay framework which will be incapable of delivering consistent, fair and transparent approaches to pay.”

However the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) welcomed the plan and said it was pleased a separate proposal for regional pay had been abandoned.

“Some deregulation of pay is bound to be controversial in the current climate but a reasonable balance has been struck,” said Russell Hobby, its general secretary.

”Progression on the basis of good performance is a sensible principle, if hard to implement, and is certainly the norm in most sectors. We feel this is sufficient to reward performance, without more radical and divisive elements like bonuses.”

The Chancellor's Key Points At A Glance

:: Britain’s economy expected to shrink by 0.1 per cent this year, rather than grow by 0.8 per cent as predicted in the Budget.

:: Austerity measures to last to 2018 – a year longer than expected.

:: Scheduled 3p-a-litre rise in fuel duty has been cancelled.

:: Most benefits will rise by 1 per cent rather than by inflation.

:: Tax-free income allowance to increase to £9,440, £235 more than previously announced.

:: 40 per cent tax threshold will rise by 1 per cent in 2014 to £41,865.

:: Whitehall departments to make a further £2.4bn of cuts.

:: Annual pension relief allowance to be cut from £50,000 a year to £40,000 – and the lifetime allowance cut from £1.5m to £1.25m.

:: Ministers to make an extra £10bn of savings after 2015.

:: Basic state pension to increase by 2.5 per cent to £110.15 a week.

:: Main rate of corporation tax cut by extra 1 per cent to 21 per cent.

:: Inheritance tax threshold to increase by 1 per cent.

:: No “mansion tax”.

:: London’s Northern Line to be extended; Newcastle-London A1 to be upgraded; 100 new schools.

:: New gas power stations;  go-ahead for “fracking”.

Arts & Entertainment
Ricky Gervais at a screening of 'Muppets Most Wanted' in London last month
tvAs the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian on why he'll never bow to critics who habitually circle his work
Arts & Entertainment
Don (John Hamm) and Megan (Jessica Paré) Draper are going their separate ways in the final series of ‘Mad Men’
tvReview: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
News
news
Life & Style
Going down: Google's ambition to build an elevator into space isn't likely to be fulfilled any time soon
techTechnology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
News
David Cameron sings a hymn during the enthronement service of The Most Rev Justin Welby as Archbishop of Canterbury, at Canterbury Cathedral last year
news
Life & Style
From long to Jong: Guy Pewsey outside Mo Nabbach’s M&M Hair Academy in west London before the haircut
fashionThe Independent heads to an Ealing hairdressers to try out the North Korean dictator's trademark do
Sport
Vito Mannone fails to keep out Samir Nasri's late strike
sportMan City 2 Sunderland 2: Keeper flaps at Nasri's late leveller, but Black Cat striker's two goals in 10 minutes had already done damage
Extras
indybest10 best smartphones
News
peopleRyan Gosling says yes, science says no. Take the A-list facial hair challenge
Arts & Entertainment
tvCreator Vince Gilligan sheds light on alternate endings
Life & Style
Google Doodle celebrates the 63rd anniversary of the Peak District National Park
tech
News
Paul Weller, aka the Modfather, performing at last year’s Isle of Wight Festival in Newport
people
Life & Style
Michael Acton Smith founded Firebox straight out of university before creating Moshi Monsters
techHe started out selling silliness with online retailer Firebox, before launching virtual creatures who took the real world by storm
News
Ethical matters: pupils during a philosophy lesson
educationTaunton School's policy of putting philosophy at heart of its curriculum is one of secrets of its success
Arts & Entertainment
Play It Forward: the DC Record Fair in Washington, US
musicIndependent music shops can offer a tempting alternative to downloads on Record Store Day
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

SEN Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Group: TAs, LSAs and Support Workers needed in ...

NGO and Community Development in Cambodia

Unpaid: Kaya Responsible Travel: There are many small development projects in ...

Teach music or performing arts abroad

Unpaid: Kaya Responsible Travel: Schools in developing countries struggle with...

Nutrition volunteer placements

Unpaid: Kaya Responsible Travel: As part of our ongoing effort to support comm...

Day In a Page

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics

Is sexual harassment a fact of gay life?

Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics
Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith: The man behind a British success story

Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith

Acton Smith launched a world of virtual creatures who took the real world by storm
Kim Jong-un's haircut: The Independent heads to Ealing to try out the dictator's do

Our journalist tries out Kim Jong-un's haircut

The North Korean embassy in London complained when M&M Hair Academy used Kim Jong-un's image in the window. Curious, Guy Pewsey heads to the hair salon and surrenders to the clippers
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part
Vespa rides on with launch of Primavera: Iconic Italian scooter still revving up millions of sales

Vespa rides on with launch of the Primavera

The Vespa has been a style icon since the 1950s and the release this month of its latest model confirms it has lost little of its lustre
Record Store Day: Independent music shops can offer a tempting alternative to downloads

Record Store Day celebrates independent music shops

This Saturday sees a host of events around the country to champion the sellers of well-grooved wax
Taunton's policy of putting philosophy at heart of its curriculum is one of secrets of its success

Education: Secret of Taunton's success

Taunton School, in Somerset, is one of the country's leading independent schools, says Richard Garner
10 best smartphones

10 best smartphones

With a number of new smartphones on the market, we round up the best around, including some more established models
Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

The former Australia coach on why England must keep to Plan A, about his shock at their collapse Down Under, why he sent players home from India and the agonies of losing his job
Homelessness: Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Zubairi Sentongo swapped poverty in Uganda for homelessness in Britain. But a YMCA scheme connected him with a couple offering warmth and shelter
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park
The pain of IVF

The pain of IVF

As an Italian woman vows to keep the babies from someone else’s eggs, Julian Baggini ponders how the reality of childbirth is often messier than the natural ideal