Dont have an account?Sign up here
16 January 2013
Commenting on the Department for Education’s press statement “More freedom on teachers' pay”, Deborah Lawson, General Secretary of Voice: the union for education professionals, said:
“We welcomed some aspects of the STRB’s recommendations, including the retention of a broad national framework and an upper pay spine, simplification of progression onto the upper pay spine, greater flexibility around the use of recruitment and retention payments and the introduction of fixed-term payments for time-limited projects. The flexibility to pay teachers above the Upper Pay Spine (UPS) to keep excellent practitioners in the classroom was also welcome.
“However, it must be remembered, despite much of the reporting of this issue, that pay progression is already performance-related for some higher paid teachers.
“Voice is not fundamentally opposed to performance-based progression, but in order for this to work, appraisal has to be very clear and robust. Teachers have to trust the system and also the objectivity of decisions made on the basis of appraisal.
“Doing away with the national spine points and giving schools the power to fix their own points within maxima and minima is a flexibility too far.
“There will be no comparison or parity from school to school and teachers’ pay and career progression will be at the whim of a teacher’s head and governors.
“Teachers transferring school cannot be guaranteed to maintain their salary level. It will be a free-for-all. It is in heads’ interests to keep salary levels and staffing costs low. Equally there is the possibility of an artificial pay inflation, which many schools can ill afford, if they have to compete locally to attract staff.
“There is the real possibility of teachers doing similar jobs in different schools being paid and progressing at very different rates.
“The stated intention behind this proposed change is to enable heads to accelerate the pay progression of teachers who are performing well, Voice fears that complete discretion at school level may well have the opposite effect.
“However, the priority now has to be our members. We want to work with all parties concerned to develop a robust performance management system that fair and consistently applied.
“Working and negotiating to achieve the best possible outcome for our members, while supporting those they serve, is at the heart of Voice’s service to its members.”