NASUWT conference has voted to use industrial action “where necessary” to challenge schools which fail to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on staff performance management and appraisals, amid fears some could be denied pay progression.
Performance-related pay for teachers was introduced in 2014, and allows schools to give rises to staff based on certain targets or benchmarks. But union leaders fear the impact of the pandemic will mean some teachers will not have been able to meet these targets.
The policy was already controversial before the Covid-19 pandemic, with warnings that teachers have given up running extra-curricular activities and even left the profession after being denied pay progression because of issues outside their control.
The government has said in official guidance that teachers “must not be penalised during the appraisal process or any subsequent pay progression decisions because of the decision to restrict pupil attendance at schools”.
But NASUWT executive member Christine Knight told the teaching union’s annual conference today she feared some teachers will still lose out.
“[Teachers] must not be detrimented by the refusal of pay progression simply because they were unable to achieve performance management objectives that were agreed prior to the pandemic or because of the pandemic,” she said.
The conference passed a motion instructing the union’s executive to “challenge, including through use of lawful industrial action where necessary, any employer that does not introduce effective Covid-19-related mitigations to their performance management and appraisal policies”.
DfE operational guidance issued ahead of the wider reopening of schools on March 8 tells settings to “consider adapting performance management and appraisal arrangements to take account of the current circumstances, particularly where these have had an impact on the ability of the teacher to meet fully their objectives”.
The full motion text
Conference insists that COVID-19-related disruption should not result in teachers or school leaders being treated detrimentally in respect of their performance management or appraisal.
Conference further insists that no teacher or school leader should suffer any detriment in terms of their pay progression or perceptions of their competence or capability as a result of the impact of the pandemic on their performance management or appraisal outcomes.
Conference calls on the National Executive to:
(i) ensure that any member subjected to such treatment is represented robustly;
(ii) challenge, including through use of lawful industrial action where necessary, any employer that does not introduce effective COVID-19-related mitigations to their performance management and appraisal policies and
(iii) lobby governments and administrations to ensure that all teachers and school leaders are protected from adverse appraisal and performance management outcomes as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.