With their typical disrespectful glass-is-quarter-empty-rather-than-three-quarters-full attitude, various media including the Today programme and Sky News, which should know better headlined or reported today's report from the House of Commons Education Committee, Great teachers: attracting, training and retaining the best, not with any reference to that title, or to the comment that "the current generation of teachers is the best ever", but with pay "bad" or "poor" teachers less when the report actually calls for the best teachers to be paid more:
"the DfE develop proposals for a pay system which rewards those teachers adding the greatest value to pupil performance".
Voice welcomed the report's "recognition of the importance of teachers and high quality teaching" and its statement that
"it's crucial that we have an educational system which celebrates great teachers, keeps more of them in the classroom, supports their development and gives them greater status and reward".
The Committee is also to blame for using the word "bad" in the first place. It might have known that this would only encourage the tabloid mentality. Does it really think that some teachers are "wicked, evil, unpleasant, harmful, naughty" etc or does it actually mean 'under-performing' or 'less good/successful', 'in need of retraining or support'?
(Let's not mention all those naughty "bad" MPs and their expenses or their alleged links to certain media organisations. Perhaps MPs' pay should be linked to how successful they are at helping constituents or to their attendance and contribution to debates in the House of Commons )
As we've said before, how do we allow teachers to be creative and inspirational in a politically-enforced regime that encourages teaching to the test and ticking targets? How do politicians expect all children to achieve above-average results? Do you lower standards, devaluing qualifications, or perform some miraculous transformation in pupil performance?
The Committee's recommendation that 'the DfE develop proposals for a pay system which rewards those teachers adding the greatest value to pupil performance' seems to overlook the fact that the link between pay and performance is not new in school teachers' pay and conditions the 'Threshold' and Upper Pay Spine were introduced 12 years ago! The current pay system facilitates the additional reward of teachers who take on additional responsibility and who show excellent performance in the classroom often both.
When the Upper Pay Spine was introduced, Voice supported it as an incentive for good experienced teachers to stay in the classroom and as a system of rewarding their expertise and raising their potential salary. At the same time, the union was clear that this access to the scale and progression on it would be linked to performance.
You can read more about the report here.
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