The Government has introduced substantial reforms to the pay of teachers in the English local authority (LA) maintained sector, to give schools greater freedom to decide how much they pay teachers and how quickly their pay progresses.
The new system was introduced in September 2013 and affected pay decisions in LA maintained schools from September 2014 (changes were voluntary in academies). A central feature was the abolition of automatic progression for all classroom teachers, and the introduction of performance-related pay (PRP). Schools also now have more flexibility to decide starting salaries when recruiting teachers, and are no longer required to match teachers’ previous salaries. In September 2014 further reforms were implemented, extending the same principle of greater autonomy at school level to the pay of school leaders (headteachers, deputy headteachers and assistant headteachers)1. Academies are not required to follow the national pay terms and conditions and were, therefore, not required to implement the pay reforms, though they may choose to do so. The effect of the reforms to teachers’ and leaders’ pay must be considered carefully alongside the public sector pay freeze, which affected pay in 2011 and 2012, and recommendations made by the School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB) for the adjustments made to pay ranges for classroom teachers and leaders that coincided with the reforms. The recommendations were for all teachers in post on or after 1 September 2013 in LA maintained schools to be awarded a 1% pay uplift, and the statutory minima and maxima of the main and upper pay ranges for classroom teachers were increased by 1% from September 2014. Teachers within the minima and maxima of the pay ranges in September 2014 and 2015 were not obliged to receive a 1% increase in pay.
A review of the international research literature on the use of PRP in schools found a mix of positive (Winters et al., 2008) and neutral results on student outcomes (see Fryer, 2013; Glazerman and Seifullah, 2010; Goldhaber and Walch, 2012; Goodman and Turner, 2010; Springer et al., 2010 and 2012). Features of effective PRP systems include: involving teachers in the design (Murnane and Cohen, 1986); individual, clear goals (Inwood, 2014); attainable targets (Armstrong, 1993); for the system to be perceived as fair (Folger and Cropanzano, 2001; Levy and Williams, 2004; Murnane and Cohen, 1986; Neal 2011); and sufficient funds to be available to reward good practice (Marsden, 2015).