Pay policy for teachers dispute in United Kingdom: The Dispute on Performance-Related Pay

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The Dispute on Performance-Related Pay

In 2013, the UK Government issued a directive to all schools to start paying teachers based on their performance. This is known as the performance-related pay policy. In the directives, the government stated that all schools must do a revision of their payment and teacher appraising policies. It was required that the new policies link the teachers pay progression with their performance. These new policies were to be established in September 2013 and were to be in effect from September 2014. However, the National Union of Teachers as well as the teachers opposed the performance related pay and even announced a strike to oppose the government’s directive. In their arguments the performance related pay is discriminatory and does not focus on all factors contributing to improved performance (Marsden, 2014).

The Government’s Demands

The government demanded that the schools’ budgets on pay should be spread out to teachers on merit of their performance. In its argument, the government emphasizes that the focus should go towards rewarding the teachers who put more effort in the good of the school and its pupils. It also demanded that schools move from the past structure where the pay was merited on period of service rather than on the quality of output over the period of service. In an example, the government laid forward the case of The Harris Foundation, whose motivation by incentive and bonuses translated to better performance of its academies (Government, 2013).

Another demand by government is setting of objectives for periods. The government believes that performance related pay will make the teachers more focused to their periodic goals. The intention of the performance related pay system is to have the goals set progressive and improve cumulatively in these periods. It also places the teachers in a position to make their own decision on the approaches they would like to take on their schemes of work and target setting.

The government demanded that teachers give non-direct time allocation to different activities. This means government remains in a position where it gets value for money. It encourages accountability of the teachers to their assessor and to the government. Ultimately, teachers get paid relative to the time they commit both directly and indirectly.

Trade Unions and Teachers’ Demands

The position of the National Union of Teachers in the United Kingdom is that the performance-related pay policy is ineffective and impractical. The National Union of Teachers demands that a different approach be taken in determining teachers’ pay. In their argument, teachers and their union insist that there is no proven impact of such a system on performance. In their demands, they state that such a system is actually demoralizing as it infers that teachers were not industrious or self-supervising.

The Teachers and their union also demand that the government rids off the bureaucracies in determining the pay of teachers and a standard regime for payment be set out. The teachers, through their unions demand that teachers pay should not be made complex and time consuming. They argue that performance-related pay will delay pay progressions for teachers as evaluation and monitoring would take time periods that could accumulate to many years.

They also demanded that the focus on performance be all-encompassing an all other contributing factors. This includes fiscal support for resources, facilities improvement and focus on leadership. Another demand was that government researches on the support of the teachers to the introduction of the system as they were the ones to work with it (National Union of Teachers, 2017).


The performance-related pay system jointly pits the teachers and their national union against the government. The government insistence on the effecting of the policy has met so much resistance with even polls carried out among the teachers indicating so many disfavors for the system. Th national union of teachers and the teachers insist that the government must make efforts to base performance on all existing factors and while the government feels that the teachers must be held accountable for performance and that they get returns on their investment.

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