Outcry over bonus pay for teachers

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The Independent Online
GOLDEN HELLOS and good-byes for skilled teachers at failing schools were proposed by the Government yesterday.

Good teachers who agreed to teach in schools declared failing by inspectors should receive bonuses. And those who soldier on in the worst schools but do not turn them round should get "termination bonuses" when schools have to close.

Heads and teachers who turn round difficult schools might also receive bonuses and teachers of subjects such as maths and science, where recruitment is difficult, should be considered for golden hellos.

Teachers reacted angrily to the Department for Education's evidence to the Schoolteachers' Pay Review Body, which marks a dramatic shift in the way the 438,000-strong profession is rewarded. Union leaders said the measures would worsen recruitment.

In the document, the department emphasises that extra pay for the best teachers rather than the traditional across-the-board rises were the way to solve the teaching recruitment crisis. This would be explained further in a Green Paper on the profession to be published later this year, but yesterday's document makes clear the Government's determination to tie pay to performance and to pay teachers partly by results.

It says: "The Government intends to look at sophisticated methods of assessment linked to performance and standards and the meeting of teachers' personal targets, including those related to pupil performance.

"It is important that the arrangements should reward teachers doing a good job in difficult schools as well as in successful schools."

David Blunkett, Secretary of State for Education, argues that "teachers and head teachers are at the heart of the drive to raise standards", but suggests that any addition to the pounds 11bn teachers' pay bill must be no more than the rate of inflation. He says that the award should not be phased as in recent years.

He is concerned particularly about the shortage of primary head teachers; the need to recruit more maths and science staff in secondary schools; the difficulty of attracting good teachers to bad schools; and recruitment in London.

Nigel de Gruchy, general secretary of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, said ministers should go back to the drawing board; special payments introduced for teachers in difficult schools had been introduced in 1974, then frozen because they did not work, and recently abolished.

Doug McAvoy, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said teachers would be shocked: "The Government gave a 34 per cent increase the Chief Inspector of Schools, a man who has no impact on the day-to- day education of children."