Schools are told by the government they must have performance-based pay policies in place from September of this year and be activating the provisions by September 2014.
No surprise that the Department for Education should have decided the form of local and performance pay provisions. No shock either, that some school governing bodies – probably still a minority – are looking forward to exercising the additional powers this will afford them.
What is more unusual is that the school inspection service, Ofsted, has been given the responsibility for policing the application of performance and local school-based pay.
Inspectors will be required to judge the effectiveness of headteachers and governors in managing staff performance. They will demand evidence of appropriate differences between the pay of high and low performing teachers.
Using "anonymised" information, headteachers will have to demonstrate that there is a direct correlation between the performance of individual teachers and that of departments and the pay progression of the staff involved. There will be no increments, and mandatory pay points (national scales) for classroom teachers are being abolished.
There is nothing new about performance-related payments in teaching. What is new is the effective handing over of the role of pay arbiter to an organisation that ostensibly is assigned to the job of judging educational standards. If pay is to be determined at school level, then teachers should be asserting that the relationship is between them and their direct employers.
Teachers at various conferences this year have expressed their dissatisfaction with Ofsted, passing votes of no confidence in the Chief Inspector. But such gestures are no substitute for organising action against the rapidly burgeoning reach of this particular inspection regime. For instance, how to operate a campaign of non-co-operation with inspectors who demand access to pay records or those who criticise legitimately-negotiated local pay policies.
• London teachers, members of the NUT and NASUWT, are holding a Rally for Education on Saturday 14th September in London, 11am to 12.30pm at the Queen Elizabeth Conference Centre, Broad Sanctuary, SW1P 3EE. Teachers, parents, support staff and governors are all invited. Platform topics are: build enough schools for London; don’t rank our children; no privatisation of schools; fair pay for teachers; kids need breaks – families need time; 68 is too late! ■