I’ve found the survey about performance-related pay at last. So, were teachers in favour? Yes and No.

Janet Downs's picture
‘Jonathan Simons, head of education at Policy Exchange, said: “The teaching unions have long argued that teachers do not want performance related pay. This polling shows that mainstream teachers are more thoughtful about its introduction, and want to be treated as professionals and judged on the quality of their teaching.’

Daily Telegraph, 30 September 2013

I couldn’t check the statement on 30 September because I couldn’t find the survey (see here) and when I rang Policy Exchange I was told it would be published in a couple of weeks. However, it’s now on their website under Press Releases and dated 30 September.

So, did the poll show teachers favoured performance-related pay? The answer is Yes and No.

The poll asked teachers what should be the major driver in pay and progression. The survey revealed 9 out of 10 teachers thought teaching quality should be a major driver – so yes, teachers wanted pay linked to teacher quality.

But teacher quality is not necessarily performance as measured by results although the Telegraph said it was. The paper cited “recent government guidance” which suggested pay could be “linked to teachers’ ability to improve pupils’ exam results, keep order in the classroom or take part in extra-curricular activities.”

But there were no questions in the survey asking whether results or pupil behaviour should be a major driver in deciding pay. 66% thought pupil progress should be a major driver but 19% were undecided. Nearly 7 out of 10 wanted extra pay for additional responsibilities and just over 5 out of 10 wanted pay linked to other contributions to the school community (presumably extra-curricular activities) but 2 out of 10 were neutral on this question.

It appears, then, the survey is being used to support performance-related pay based on results when it did no such thing.

Teachers were asked to choose three options for how they personally would like their performance measured. The options combined pupil progress and results which are not necessarily the same thing. 53% were against linking pay to pupil progress/results. 46% chose assessment by senior staff but only 33% wanted assessment by the head. 44% rated self-evaluation.

So, just over half of teachers did NOT favour having their own pay linked to pupil progress or results. The Telegraph’s headline,” Teachers back system of performance-related pay” is, therefore, a little misleading.

One odd thing about the survey: two questions, numbers 6 and 11, asked the same question about whether teachers would be more or less likely to work in a school where pay was more explicitly linked to overall performance. The wording was identical but the responses were different. At the first time of asking, 40% said they would be less likely to work in a school where pay was linked to performance, 16% more likely while 44% said no difference. The second time, however, 33% said they would be less likely, 22% more likely and 45% no difference.

Did nobody at Policy Exchange or YouGov notice the same question had been asked twice? Very odd.


Note: The survey asked other questions measuring teacher dissatisfaction with various activities – I hope to write about this later. It also asked teachers how they thought they were being assessed now and whether they had any confidence in the types of assessment. I have not written about this.

ADDENDUM The data:

1002 teachers were asked what should be a major driver in pay and progression on a scale 1-7 from “Should not be a driver” to “Major driver”. The teachers who ticked number 4 were neither one thing nor the other so weren’t included in the Net figures. The results for major driver were:

1 Quality of teaching: 89% for, 4% against.

2 Pupil progress: 66% for, 15% against.

3 Type of school: 28% for, 58% against.

4 Years of experience: 60% for, 19% against.

5 Academic credentials (unspecified – it was unclear whether this meant just a degree or included teacher training): 28% for, 50% against.

6 Additional responsibilities outside the classroom: 69% for, 16% against.

7 Subject or year group taught: 24% for, 60% against.

8 Other contributions to school community: 52% for, 28% against.

Teachers were asked to choose 3 options for how they would like their performance to be measured. The results were:

1 47% chose progress/results

2 46% chose assessment by senior staff

3 44% chose self evaluation

4 33% chose assessment by head teacher

5 30% chose peer assessment

6 10% non-Ofsted external assessment

7 3% other

If anyone finds errors in my figures please let me know and I’ll correct them. My eyes are swivelling after focussing on the spreadsheet.

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