Thursday, 28 February 2013

Pay for performance

With our beloved Mr Gove releasing headteachers to decide on teachers' pay, I was reminded of an excellent article by Simon Caulkin exploring the concept of performance related pay. This has now been published  in Professional Manager.

Somehow my brain then went off on a tangent and this helped me recognise that, whatever I might think of PRP (and, for the record, I think it utterly inappropriate for the teaching profession, if not all jobs) most of the talk about PRP seems to centre on punishing the under-performers not rewarding the over-performers!

PRP is a relic of the Victorian Industrial Age - as is our current education system - when the bosses invented piece-work and paid according to the work output. Motivation theory suggests that it MIGHT work when the subject is seriously economically deprived, but even then the more vocational an activity the less effective that extrinsic reward mechanisms become. I personally still hold the scars from a new MD/FD who took away our longed-for 3 month sabbatical every 5 years (which had all sorts of beneficial knock-ons, not least the opportunity for someone to 'act up') and replaced it by a bonus payment that on paper was worth more than the sabbatical. I did not want the pay, I earned a lot more than I could spend anyway and really wanted the sabbatical that I had been looking forward to for over 4 years.

I also have a view (unsupported by any explicit evidence but backed by 30-odd years in the 'people business') that the 'type of person', and they do still exist, who is seriously motivated by money is unlikely to be the type of person who would make a good teacher.I have yet to hear a teacher say "If only I was paid £1000 more every year, I would work so much harder..."

And if we are to 'incentivise' teachers how do we deal with other school staff who are also important?

It is clear that we WILL have to deal with this situation where the head is granted more freedom on teachers' pay - for which read 'governing body has more freedom, because it is us governors who agree the Pay Policy - so I think it is time to engage with the dialogue rather than prolong the debate. What suggestions can you make for handling this effectively?