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Green councillor speaks out against 'divisive' teachers’ pay policy

Reacting to the Coalition government’s changes to teachers' pay policy, Rob Telford, Green councillor for Ashley ward and a former teaching assistant said:

“The ending of pay portability and pay progression1 are yet another attack on the teaching profession by Michael Gove, intended to divide teachers in educational settings. After two years of a public sector pay freeze equalling a real terms cut in teacher pay, the ability for schools to pay good teachers more is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, as effectively it means paying all teachers less.”

Pay portability is the ability to move between teaching jobs Bristol City Council will review its model Pay and Appraisal policies for schools2 to ensure that they are fit for purpose, although schools will have to exercise their discretion and tailor any policy to their own needs. Schools will be asked to set out how appraisal outcomes are linked to pay decisions, particularly as the new document allows schools to increase one teacher’s pay at a faster rate than another’s.

However, Cllr Telford, education spokesperson for the Green group and a member of the Children & Young People (CYPS) scrutiny committee said:

“Professional relationships become strained in education more than elsewhere when just a few individuals are rewarded on a school team. Making pay progression dependent on budget and performance sets up a potential conflict of interest in which the school is better off financially if teachers do not progress, yet the children and families are better off if they do. We need collaboration in our schools, not competition.”

Over the past decade, there has been a movement towards performance-related pay, but the Green Party has campaigned across the country3 to keep pay progression as the best means of rewarding teachers based on performance management reviews.

The Green Party also supports measures to encourage and sustain young teachers to gain a solid footing in the profession. The School Teachers’ Review Body report4 states that “teachers in their first five years [have] left the profession because of status, morale, workload, and a lack of support.”

Notes

1 Pay portability is the principle that teachers can move jobs without receiving a real terms pay cut. Pay progression is the principle that teachers can receive regular pay rises.

2 Available to download here: http://www.bristol.gov.uk/page/schools-pay-policy-revisions-2010

3 For one example of this, see: http://wembleymatters.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/green-party-opposes-damaging-teachers.html

4 The full report is available here: http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/careers/payandpensions/teacherspayandconditionsdocument/a00203870/strb-21st-report

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