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Teaching unions dismiss payment by results

PAYING TEACHERS by results would distort children's education, according to unions representing three quarters of the teaching force in England and Wales, writes Donald MacLeod.

Primary teachers would be driven to teach 'to the test' while weak candidates would be excluded from GCSE and A-level examinations to boost schools' results, according to a study commissioned by the National Union of Teachers and the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers.

Giving evidence to the teachers' pay review body for England and Wales today the unions argue that performance-related pay was divisive and unworkable.

Despite the determination of John Patten, Secretary of State for Education, to promote performance-related pay, the issue is looking increasingly irrelevant: the cash simply is not there.

Although the review body chaired by Sir Graham Day, the industrialist, has already argued that extra money is needed, Mr Patten has made it clear the money will have to be found from within school budgets.

A survey for the review body found that more than 90 per cent of headteachers questioned had made no use of four types of discretionary payment introduced in 1990. Out of 54,600 teachers covered, just 579 received discretionary additions to their pay.

The review body differs with Mr Patten on how pay should be judged. It has proposed to reward schools that improve exam results or cut truancy; he wants pay linked to appraisal of teachers.