Schools are giving golden goodbyes worth thousands of pounds to increasing numbers of ‘bad’ teachers, as part of so-called compromise agreements.
Last year compensation won by teaching unions for their members reached £30 million for the first time. This included £12.5 million for NASUWT members and £4.3 million for ATL members, the Telegraph reports.
Heads are taking a tougher line on weak staff because of tougher Ofsted inspections and Michael Gove’s policy of ‘zero tolerance’ on failing teachers. This has resulted in the increase in compromise agreements, where teachers agree not to complain about their former employer or take them to a tribunal, in return for hefty pay-offs. This doesn’t prevent them working in other schools, so they could walk into a new job after receiving a windfall.
Dave Evans, the NASUWT representative in Sefton, Merseyside, said pay-offs in his area had risen from two to 11 in a year and that compromise agreements made it much cheaper and quicker to get rid of staff. “It’s not surprising my members say they feel bullied and brassed off,” he said, “due to the pressure they are getting from above, but that is because schools are under so much pressure to do well in their Ofsted reports.”
Critics of the compromise agreements described them as ‘rewards for failure’. “If a teacher is not up to the job, they should expect to be out on their ear – not in a position to negotiate a five-figure lump sum to send them on their way,” according to Matthew Sinclair of the Taxpayers’ Alliance. “The unions would do well to remember that every pound spent on paying off poor teachers is a pound less available to be spent on educating children, which surely ought to be their top priority.”
Do you think weak teachers should receive golden goodbyes? Is Michael Gove or Ofsted to blame for the increasing number of compromise agreements?