Heads to get training to grade teachers

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The Independent Online
EXTRA CASH will be available to train headteachers and senior school staff to assess the competence of their colleagues, Charles Clarke, the Education minister, announced yesterday.

But he denied the move was a response to fears of "cronyism" in the staffroom as a result of the proposed introduction of performance-related pay for teachers.

Mr Clarke, who announced the pounds 22m training budget at the Professional Association of Teachers' annual conference in Southport, said fears of favouritism had been raised during consultation. "I don't think this is a serious issue. I've never thought that favouritism was a high risk," he said. "I think a greater risk is the system not being professional in the way it is put in place."

From next year, assessments of teachers' competence by senior colleagues will be used to decide whether they pass a performance threshold. Passing would bring a 10 per cent pay rise and the opportunity for further increases, taking their salaries up to pounds 35,000.

Mr Clarke told the conference the Government was confident it could give teachers the rewards they deserved for classroom excellence, in what would be the biggest performance management system ever introduced in the public sector.

He said: "We fully understand concerns that the pay system must be open and fair. That is why we have commissioned research on the characteristics of effective teaching. Annual reviews of performance should be based on personal objectives between teacher and team leader which are aligned with school and team priorities and take account of the full range of what teachers have achieved."

The minister said the Government wanted a "continuing dialogue" on the performance-related pay proposals with teachers' leaders, some of whom are threatening industrial action. But he warned that the principles were not negotiable.He said there would be no "crude system of payment by results", but refused to rule out taking children's exam results into account.