Why Performance Related Pay for Teachers is a Bad Idea (UPDATE)

Ministers Attend Cabinet Meeting At Downing Street


UPDATE: Please see the bottom of the post for Union reactions.

The DfE have posted this news item today:

All schools to get freedom to pay good teachers more

This post is my initial reaction as not all of the details are available as yet.

Does Gove really think that performance related pay will work in education? Insurance sales – yes, education – no.

Here is why:

How does one rate performance? Yes, results are important (and measurable), but being a teacher is about far more than letters. What about the positive influence teachers have on young peoples lives? You cannot measure that. What about the teachers who go the extra mile everyday? You can’t measure that.

I am sure many HoDs will not do this, but certainly a point that should be raised. If your salary is dependent on performance, will some HoDs allocate the ‘best’ students in order to get the best results? Teachers have kids and families to support. Could you blame them for wanting more money?

Value added could be a way of judging performance. However, if you have a class of students who are predicted A*, there is only so much value you can add. If many of your students are predicted C’s and D’s, you have more opportunity to add value.

This tweet from Sam is worth thinking about:

This is spot on and a great point.

Some schools have more outside donors or sponsors, these can provide funds to all sorts of things. This could free up extra money to pay more for staff.

Its common sense that teacher pay should be consistent. Imagine a situation when two teachers in the same department, doing the same job, find that one of them gets paid more. It will not be a good.

Schools are already under pressure about results and some are accused of helping students more than they should. Do you really think performance related pay is going to help this situation?

Think of the financial uncertainty for our future teachers.

Finally, it is a horrible to think of our students being treated like commodities.

I am sorry this may seem like a rant and possibly not brilliantly put together, I just wanted to get it out there.


Teachers’ performance pay ‘does not raise standards’ – Interesting article from the BBC.

Update 2:

NUT Reaction

NASUWT Reaction

ATL Reaction



  1. “Imagine a situation when two teachers in the same department, doing the same job, find that one of them gets paid more.”

    Isn’t this issue arising because two teachers in the same department often are not doing the same job? A significant number are highly effective, a significant number are not, I think that is why measures like this are being tabled.

    Also, what about the fact that many teachers doing the same job (and in many cases equally effective) are paid differently because one has spent more years in the classroom than another. That is not two people doing the same job being paid equally either…

    1. I understand what you are saying. However…

      When I finished my training, myself and another person I trained with both got a job in the same school and in the same position.

      If the current changes happen, there is a chance that the head teacher could offer me 21k and the other teacher far more.

      Perhaps the other teacher was a better negotiator?

      The point I was trying to make is…this situation could happen.

      I am interested in your opinion. What do you think of performance related pay for teachers?

  2. Hi

    My sentiments aren’t of teachers being paid differently for doing essentially the same job as colleagues who may or not be in the same department or may or not be as good / efficitive – afterall that happens in industry / sales / marketing / the city all the time.

    The issue for the whole of education is that we are NOT any of those industries, we dont make money and bring home bonuses and we didn’t generally come into education for the financial rewards.

    The worrying aspect of all this, is that it centralises the power to “award” pay in the hands of head teachers, who themselves may or may not be up to the job. Unlike the afore mentioned industries, headteachers are not normally accountable to a board of directors and shareholders, who are motivateed by money. CEOs of companies are fired if they dont make the mark – head teachers are insulated from market forces by the very instutitions that they set up.

    This is not a rant against heads, who do the best they can. But teaching is not comparable to industry, we dont make profiot, we have no share holders with a powerful voice and the regulatory bodies (Ofsted / Estyn) have only minor hire / fire powers.

    Mr Gove (et al) teachers cant be “performance managed” into working harder – most of us cant physically do any more. Altering my pay structure wont motivate me to work in a difficult, falling role school, with less money, that will pay less. No it will motivate me to work in a top performing school, with rising roles, so I can be paid more.

    So, good schools can afford better teachers and those “sink” schools can only afford the lower end, NQT, failing colleagues? Come on, basic ecconomics.

    Teaching is a public service, and we should be paid using a similar formula to other public servants – keep market forces out of it.


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