pounds 46,000 job to sell idea of teachers' pay reform

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The Independent Online
WANTED: A Government communications guru. Your mission (should you choose to accept it) to win over the hearts and minds of 450,000 sceptical teachers. The Department for Education and Employment is offering pounds 46,000 for someone to sell teachers the Government's reforms of classroom pay.

It will be a tough task. Proposals for introducing performance-related pay, including a link between salaries and results, have proved hugely controversial.

The new co-ordinator will be responsible for getting the Government's message about the reforms in its Green Paper on pay direct to teachers.

A spokeswoman for the department said the appointment was part of efforts to improve communications with teachers. "A modern profession deserves modern communications," she said.

"There is lots of really good news in the teacher reforms; the working conditions, professional development and training opportunities."

But teachers' leaders said the new post was an "admission of failure" insisting that staff were still opposed to the principle underlying many of the pay reforms.

Doug McAvoy, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said: "This smacks of them recognising that they have failed to communicate to teachers. They are spending taxpayers' money to find out what we told them for free.

"Teachers know how government policy fits together. They know only too well how damaging performance pay will be."

Nigel de Gruchy, general secretary of the National Association of Schoolmasters/ Union of Women Teachers, said: "It's an admission of failure. It's appointing a new messenger rather than changing the message. Teachers are no fools. We know there's good and bad in the Green Paper, but the problem lies with performance management."