Some theory on performance-related pay in the public sector
At British Educational Research Association Annual Conference 2002.
12 - 14 Sep 2002.
Full text not available from this repository.
In January 2002 the UK Department for Education and Skills (DfES), accepting the recommendations of the School Teachers’ Review Body, announced pay increases for all teachers, but higher percentage increases for those eligible for performance related pay. Performance related pay (PRP) was due to be introduced for teachers from September 2000, but was delayed for want of consultation. Slightly modified, its full introduction is now due in September 2002 as part of ‘the most radical reform of the teaching profession since the Second World War’ (Barber, 2001). It already exists for headteachers and deputies, and indeed has been in the vanguard of public sector pay reform since the Thatcher era.
Advocates of the New Economics of Personnel suggest that PRP is superior to the old-fashioned time-based seniority systems, though this is by no means certain in circumstances, such as exist in schools, where employees have so much discretion in the exercise of their duties and where the correlation between output and individual effort is difficult to establish. As a policy, PRP aims to modernise the teaching profession by recruiting, retaining and promoting effective teachers. It seeks to raise the status of teachers in their own eyes and in the eyes of the public (Barber, 2001), and to create a culture in which teachers take prime responsibility for pupil performance.
This paper examines the theory that underpins the claim that PRP can fulfil these objectives, from the perspective of research carried out by the author. One hundred teachers of longer than five years standing and forty trainees (PGCE students) were interviewed and surveyed by questionnaire, with a view to gauging the likelihood of whether or not PRP can be introduced to schools with the desired result. A group of four headteachers and one Local Education Authority (LEA) executive triangulated the research findings against their own experience of teacher motivation (in terms of recruitment and retention).
No claim for generalisation is made. The paper is offered as an exposition of some important theoretical issues surrounding PRP, which have yet to be considered by the education community, illuminated by research on a sample of teacher participants.
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