Performance-related pay: the views and experiences of 1,000 primary and secondary head teachers
University of Exeter
Research Papers in Education
This is the first of two papers describing a study of the introduction of performance-related pay into the teaching profession in the UK. It reports the views and experiences of a national random sample of 1,000 primary and secondary head teachers in over 150 local education authorities in England who were responsible for implementing one strand of the government's performance-related pay scheme, Threshold Assessment. The second paper describes the views and experiences of teachers who were unsuccessful in crossing the threshold and therefore did not obtain a pay increment. Head teachers did not find it difficult to assess the five standards that teachers had to meet in order to receive their 2,000 additional performance payment, but they were very critical of the training they received, the amount of time they had to spend, and the changing ground rules. The success rate was 86% of all teachers eligible, but 97% of those who actually applied were awarded the additional payment. Most heads dealt with the applications entirely on their own, though one in six, mainly in the secondary sector, shared the task with senior colleagues. Unsuccessful candidates were few in number, but most were deemed to be failing on more than one aspect of their teaching. While those who were successful in crossing the threshold were pleased and relieved, unsuccessful applicants were said to be bitter, threatening action, in several cases leaving the school. External Threshold Assessors had to visit every school. In only 71 cases out of 19,183 applicants in our sample of schools was there disagreement. Three-quarters of heads felt Threshold Assessment had made a little or no difference to what teachers did in the classroom. This is confirmed by our other studies, which suggest that teachers simply keep more careful records, rather than change how they teach. Some 60% of heads were opposed to performance-related pay, but 39% were in favour of it in principle, though most of these were unhappy about the way it had been put into practice.
The Teachers' Incentive Pay Project (TIPP) is funded by the Leverhulme Trust.
This is a postprint of an article whose final and definitive form has been published in Research Papers in Education© 2003 Copyright Taylor & Francis; Research Papers in Education is available online at http://www.informaworld.com