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Schools Contribute and Pay Teachers

by on May 17, 2012

Schools to set teachers’ pay – Excellent! Now, pay the school based on their contribution level

Yesterday’s Guardian article tried to set out a balanced view on Michael Gove’s proposal for schools to set their own teachers’ pay. Finally the British government has realised that pay should not set by an ” all-knowing Whitehall”, but should be determined locally, in this case by the schools (It is a shame the Dutch government has not seen it this way “Less Teaching=More Learning”). Even if it doesn’t as an international study showed necessarily improve standards of school, it will at least balance the supply and demand for teaching and create extra incentives for outstanding performance.

Contrary to what Christine Blower, general secretary of the NUT, states national pay scales do not ensure greater fairness and non-discrimination than a system where schools can determine the pay. Would it really be fair to pay an outstanding, dedicated teacher as much as a lazy teacher who doesn’t really care? Isn’t paying the good teachers as much as the bad teachers the real injustice? Isn’t the current system just plain and simple age discrimination where teacher’s pay automatically rises with experience and not with performance?

Christine Blower also argued that schools determining pay would reduce the mobility and create shortages in areas of low pay. This made me wonder whether Christine Blower had ever been taught basic supply and demand economics. Surely the whole point of this exercise is to balance the supply and demand for teaching across the country, in an area with a low supply wages will go up.

Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, made a more important point. The pay the schools can carve up amongst their teachers is still not linked to the school’s actual performance. As we have argued previously schools should be paid according to their relative performance. This should be measured by the contribution they make to their pupils education. The more schools (and their teachers) add to their pupils education the more they should be rewarded in pay. In turn this increased pay to schools can filter down to increased pay for good teachers. To be clear all pupils passing school with straight A’s does not necessarily constitute a good school (the pupils could have started the school of at such a level that this was expected). A good school is a school that increases the ranking of its students against their peers. For more on this read our previous article in the Graduate Times “School Rankings”.

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