The merit of teacher pay reform

This report follows two roundtable seminars held by Reform in Summer 2013 and contains a review of the events that took place, commentary from leading head teachers, and a summary of the findings.

Performance related pay in schools is a good idea:

  • The best schools already use pay to incentivise performance, with most awarding teaching and learning responsibilities to good teachers. Academies and free schools go further by offering performance and retention bonuses
  • There is strong support for rewarding teachers for good performance
  • It is right that schools are able to design and implement their own pay policies, in line with greater autonomy for schools
  • Introducing performance related pay will force schools to improve the quality of performance management of staff, which could in turn improve pupil outcomes

This has been a busy summer break for schools as they finalise new pay and appraisal policies. Since Michael Gove became Secretary of State for Education in 2010 there has been a wave of reforms aimed at driving up standards in English schools. Delivering more autonomy to schools has been central to this agenda. The Academy and Free School programmes have expanded rapidly, and many of the freedoms that the schools enjoy, such as flexibility to set the school day and term dates, are being extended to all schools. Freedom to choose how and what to pay teachers is another freedom to have been extended. Following the Government’s acceptance of the School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB) recommendations to link teachers’ pay more closely to their performance, all schools must set out how pay progression will be linked to a teacher’s performance, starting this academic year. The first performance-linked pay increases will then be made from September 2014 and Ofsted will be monitoring implementation in schools.