NUT rejects linking pay to results

TEACHERS ARE threatening to derail the Government's schools standards agenda if plans to pay them by results are imposed.

The biggest teachers' union revealed widespread opposition throughout the profession yesterday to proposals to link pay to performance.

In the largest survey carried out so far on teachers' views of the Green Paper, four out of five rejected performance-related pay based on an annual assessment by heads or senior teachers. And an even higher proportion of the 15,000 who replied - 90 per cent - were adamantly opposed to teachers being judged partly by their pupils' results. About 26,000 of the 195,000 in-service members of the National Union of Teachers replied to a questionnaire and the responses of 15,000 of them have so far been processed by Warwick University's Institute of Education.

Doug McAvoy, the union's general secretary, said the survey showed a massive rejection of the Government's ideas and threatened a campaign of "non-co-operation" if the proposals were imposed on the profession.

He said: "The Government cannot progress its standards agenda without the support of the teachers. It should not risk the profession's co-operation by imposing the kind of changes which the union is saying it totally opposes."

Critics blamed the last government's difficulties in raising school standards on its alienation of the profession.

David Blunkett, the Secretary of State for Education, has said he cannot believe that teachers will turn down the offer of pounds 1bn, which is available for performance-related pay for teachers.

Under the new system, teachers will be able to take an "MoT" test to pass a threshold and will then be entitled to extra pay. The best classroom teachers will be able to earn up to pounds 35,000 a year and there will be a fast track for bright young graduates.

But the union's survey found that hostility to fast tracking was just as strong among its younger members as among its older ones. Overall, only 7.4 per cent agreed with fast- tracking.

Mr McAvoy said: "Teachers know that linking their pay to pupil achievement and annual appraisals of their own performance will divide schools. A massive bureaucracy will develop to support an annual MoT at substantial cost which will not benefit children's education nor raise the status and morale of teachers, which the Government says is its aim."

Consultation on the Green Paper finishes next month, just before the union's annual conference, which will hear calls for "non-co-operation" with the Government and industrial action.