Lessons Learned From Imposing Performance-Related Pay On Teachers



By Simon Burgess in The Conversation.


One of the toughest subjects in classrooms at the moment is the recruitment and retention of teachers. Their level of pay is often cited as a problem – and possibly part of a solution.

In England, the public sector pay freeze of recent years has meant real terms pay cuts for many teachers. But another part of the picture is the procedure which decides how much an individual teacher gets. Until recently this has been the pervasive public sector approach under which pay has generally increased automatically over time.

But what if that were changed? Could the profession be made more attractive to high performers? Could more teachers be persuaded to keep on teaching?

Back in 2013 the British government introduced one of the most wide-ranging reforms to teachers’ pay for many years. The most striking element was the requirement for all Local Authority (LA) maintained schools to introduce “performance-related pay” (PRP) for all teachers. Set points for teacher pay (known as “spine points”) were abolished and instead pay increases were decided by the school.


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