Poor teachers should be paid less, say MPs

By Oliver Hotham

The government should go ahead with its plans to introduce "payment by results" for teachers to weed out those whose students perform poorly, say MPs.

According to members of the education select committee, bad teachers are exploiting a "rigid and unfair" national salary structure.

A new report by the committee argues that teachers whose students perform poorly are bringing down the good teachers and a "payment by results" system could fix the problem.

The report argues that the government must act quickly to stop the continued rewarding of poor teachers:

"We believe that performance management systems should support and reward the strongest teachers, as well as make no excuses — or, worse, incentives to remain — for the weaker."

It continues: "Given the profound positive and negative impacts which teachers have on pupil performance, we are concerned that the pay system continues to reward low performers at the same levels as their more successful peers."

Results analysed would include exam grades, as well as overall progress made by the class.

General secretary of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) Christine Blower came out strongly against payment by results, calling it "total nonsense":

She said: "Children are not tins of beans and schools are not factory production lines. Successful schools rely on a collegiate approach and team working.

"Children and young people differ and class intakes differ from year to year, making it impossible to measure progress in simplistic terms."

The Department Of Education welcomed the report – education minister Michael Gove has already asked the School Teachers' Review Body to make recommendations as to how salary structure can be made more flexible.

The report is also recommending that the best teachers be given "paid sabbaticals" to enhance their skills.