Natfhe knocks pay by results

April 9, 1999

Lecturers have warned that performance-related pay has not worked in colleges and universities and will not help the "crisis" in teacher supply.

As teaching unions attacked PRP at their annual conferences over the Easter weekend, lecturers' union Natfhe said it would be "offensive" to the majority of teachers in pre and post-16 education if systems of reward for a minority were put in place "as a means of supposedly addressing the needs of the profession".

Learning was cumulative and teachers typically built on what someone else had taught the previous year. This was at odds with the divisive effects of PRP.

Responding to the government's green paper Teachers: Meeting the Challenge of Change, the union argues that PRP lowers morale, creates suspicion and undermines team-working. It adds that several surveys of PRP schemes have found that women and ethnic minorities tend to lose in the way rewards are allocated.

Natfhe also calls for a single national pay system in further education, arguing that abandoning national arrangements since incorporation may have left "an equal pay time bomb". It wants "a pay structure for the sector that rewards experience and quality in teaching and allows individuals to remain in the classroom as they progress in their careers".

In higher education, it argues that while diversity is important, national scales and grades provide a way of establishing parity and transparency between institutions and so reinforces equity.

The union welcomes the way in which the green paper continues the debate on development of the teaching profession. But it says it does not adequately address problems of teacher supply.

It calls for "substantially higher levels of investment in the system", including the possibility of extra taxation, and wants the government to take the lead in restoring respect for teachers in society.

The "name and shame" culture has little or no place in the management of a complex and sophisticated system of professional workers, it says. It also wants the role of inspection and quality assurance bodies to be reassessed.

Natfhe can see no good reason for direct funding of higher education/school partnerships, which, it says, would lead to more bureaucracy. Instead, it says the total level of funding is at issue.

Similarly, the union argues for more cash to attract a wider range of people, such as mature students, into teaching.

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