The government has committed to removing the “bureaucratic requirement” of performance-related pay in schools by September, but has snubbed its workload taskforce’s call for an extra inset day.
The taskforce has this morning published an early set of recommendations as part of ministers’ pledge to cut five hours from the working week of teachers and school leaders.
The taskforce said there were concerns performance-related pay (PRP) “works poorly in practice and does not have a commensurate positive impact on teaching and learning”, recommending a formal commitment to ditch it in time for the 2024-25 academic year.
Government said it recognised concerns around the “administrative and workload burden” of the practice and will replace the system with a “less bureaucratic way to manage performance fairly and transparently”.
“We will conduct a rapid government and trade unions review of current guidance surrounding appraisal and performance management to facilitate a replacement for PRP being in place from 1st September 2024.
“By communicating any changes in Spring 2024, schools will have sufficient notice to enable them to prepare during the summer for September 2024 implementation.”
Introduced in 2014, PRP allows schools to give rises to staff if they meet certain targets or benchmarks.
But many schools have already scrapped the practice, and the government’s School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB) itself said the “burden of administering it exceeds any benefit that it is achieving”.
Workload inset day plea snub
The taskforce also said the Department for Education “should consider remitting the STRB to include an additional INSET day, at the earliest opportunity” where leaders could focus specifically on workload-cutting measures.
The government said it “strongly recognises the importance of schools dedicating time throughout the year to address their specific workload concerns”.
However ministers concluded “a further INSET day is not the right course of action”, though it “remains committed to working in partnership with unions and the wider sector to embed a culture of sustainable workload in schools”.
“The Government and unions will work together to encourage schools to make use of the existing five INSET days for workload reduction, and to support this important work over the long-term,” the DfE said.
All the other recommendations have been accepted by government.
That included calls for the DfE to consider the “merits of promoting a named leader responsible for wellbeing and workload”.
New teacher admin ban list
Meanwhile, the taskforce also proposed a revised list of administrative tasks that teachers should not be required to do, which they want reinserted in the school teachers’ pay and conditions document (STPCD).
Examples include that teachers should not collect money from pupils and parents, have to mange getting cover for absent teachers, do bulk photocopying or investigate a pupil’s absence.
They also should not have duties over “organisation, decoration and assembly” of classrooms. See the full list here.
Dr Patrick Roach, NASUWT general secretary, said ditching the list ten years ago, under Michael Gove, was a “misguided decision… We now expect rapid action to get this updated version of the list reinstated formally.”
He added the recommendations from the taskforce more generally are “a helpful first step, but much more will need to be done to deal with the workload crisis engulfing schools”.