Exam result 'bonus' plan for teachers

TEACHERS in England and Wales should receive a bonus if examination or test results at their schools improve, the School Teachers' Review Body suggested yesterday.

No account would be taken of pupils' background or intelligence - but schools that excluded unruly pupils would be less likely to achieve an annual bonus.

Teaching unions immediately condemned a consultative paper from the review body on how to implement the Government's policy of performance-related pay in schools, which they said had failed to identify a fair and equitable scheme.

Conceding that several issues remained to be settled, the report proposes that a pilot scheme or a series of different schemes should be set up next year. The review body admitted that the criteria it was proposing for judging performance bonuses was 'crude', but claimed they would serve as an acceptable basis for future refinement.

Schools should be rated according to the information they are required to publish for parents: in primary schools the results of national curriculum tests, and attendance rates, and in secondary schools examination results, attendance rates and the destinations of pupils at 16.

Nursery schools would be, for the moment, excluded from a national performance-related pay scheme.

Schools would be rewarded if they showed an improvement in these indicators during the year, but would lose it if results were worse or remained at the same level in the following year. But a school that had achieved such a high performance that it would be unrealistic to expect further improvement might qualify for a continuing bonus.

The report says that all teachers in a school would probably share in the bonus, although headteachers and governors might like to identify those who had contributed most to the school's improvement, to receive a larger share.

John Patten, Secretary of State for Education, welcomed the review body report, although he acknowledged that different ways of introducing performance-related pay were clearly possible.

Doug McAvoy, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said that the review body had reversed its view that any scheme should account of a schools' intake. 'The fundamental approach is one which would favour those schools which are more advantageously financed to begin with, whether through parental contributions or the vagaries of government funding and local management schemes.'

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