Teachers prepare to strike this term

The Secretary of State’s plans for performance-related pay are once again making headlines. While the biggest teaching unions are gearing up for mass walk outs over pay and pensions, headteachers’ unions are warning that Mr Gove could face major difficulties in introducing a scheme based on performance instead of length of service.

Members of the two main teaching unions are already taking part in a work-to-rule and the NUT has approached the NASUWT about strike action, the Telegraph reports. With the two unions representing 90% of teaching staff, strike action would bring schools to a standstill and affect millions of pupils.

Meanwhile the NAHT and ASCL, are warning that the plans for performance-related pay that Michael Gove favours may cause major difficulties.

Although the headteachers’ unions broadly welcomed pay grades being based on performance, they fear that pay rises for some teachers would result in pay cuts or redundancy for others. They are also concerned that school governing bodies, which would make decisions about pay, may lack the necessary training.

The NAHT believes that the new system would raise standards and bring teachers’ pay  into line with headteachers but warns some of the changes were ‘too far, too soon’: “To get the best from the new system, however, it must be introduced sensitively and contain a strong emphasis on professional development,” general secretary Russell Hobby said, “For teachers to understand that this is a constructive process that works in their interests as well as pupils, it must not be based on crude targets. Nor should it be implemented in a rush without adequate training being given to school leaders and governors who will be monitoring staff progress and sometimes having to make difficult decisions and judgments.”



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