Department for Education
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New advice to help schools set performance-related pay

The Department for Education has published advice helping schools decide how to pay their teachers.

Advice helping schools decide how to pay their teachers was yesterday published by the Department for Education.

The advice is being sent to all schools in England, alongside a revised version of the School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document that reflects reforms to teachers’ pay.

Schools will, from 1 September 2013, be able to link teachers’ pay to performance allowing them to pay good teachers more. This follows recommendations from the independent School Teachers’ Review Body, which last year called on the government to link teachers’ pay more closely to their performance.

By this September every school will need to have revised its pay and appraisal policies setting out how pay progression will in future be linked to a teacher’s performance. The first performance-linked pay increases will be made from September 2014.

The new arrangements provide increased flexibility for schools to develop pay policies tailored to their particular needs. These freedoms will support heads in attracting teachers in specific subjects based on their school’s needs. It will also help schools across the country recruit and retain excellent teachers.

Evidence shows that improving the quality of teaching is essential to raising standards in schools.

According to the Sutton Trust, for poor pupils, the difference between a very good teacher and a bad teacher may be a whole year’s education.

The advice published yesterday highlights factors schools could consider when assessing teachers’ performance. This includes a teacher’s:

  • impact on pupil progress
  • impact on wider outcomes for pupils
  • contribution to improvements in other areas (eg pupils’ behaviour or lesson planning)
  • professional and career development
  • wider contribution to the work of the school, for instance their involvement in school business outside the classroom

Schools could consider evidence from a range of sources, including self-assessment, lesson observations, and the views of other teachers and of parents and pupils.

It is up to each school to decide how best to implement new pay arrangements – and each school must make the link between pay and performance clear.

Heads and school leaders are responsible for developing arrangements for performance-linked pay. Governing bodies will ensure schools adopt pay policies which clearly set out arrangements for linking appraisals to pay progression. School leaders will be responsible for explaining to teachers how appraisal outcomes lead to pay decisions.

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

It is vital that schools can recruit and reward the best teachers. The advice published today will help schools to review their pay policies and put in place arrangements that enable them to pay the best teachers more.

Notes to editors

  1. Advice to help schools introduce new arrangements for teachers’ pay is available on the Department for Education website.
  2. a revised School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document (STPCD) is available on the Department for Education website.
  3. the School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB), which makes recommendations to government on teachers’ pay reforms, called for greater freedom for schools to set teachers’ pay in its report. This is available on the Department for Education website.
  4. Sutton Trust research shows that the effects of high-quality teaching are especially significant for pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds is available on the Sutton Trust’s website.


From September, a new simpler, more flexible national pay framework for teachers will come into effect. It will:

  • end pay increases based on length of service – currently virtually all full time classroom teachers on the main pay scale automatically progress to the next pay point
  • link all teachers’ pay progression to performance, based on annual appraisals – already the case for some teachers who are on a higher pay scale
  • abolish mandatory pay points within the pay scales for classroom teachers to give schools greater freedom on how much teachers are paid. They would remain in place for reference only in the main pay scale to guide career expectations for new teachers entering the profession
  • retain the higher pay bands for London and fringe areas

By September, every school will need to have revised their pay and appraisal policies setting how pay progression will reflect the above and be linked to a teacher’s performance. The first performance-linked pay will then come in from September 2014.


There are some academies and other schools that are already using their flexibilities to operate performance-related pay schemes. These include:

  • Abbotsholme School (a small independent school in Uttoxeter, Staffs), which has dispensed with pay scales and only gives pay increases to those who work hard and contribute to the well-being of the school and its pupils. The governors agree what percentage of the overall school budget should be used for staff salary increases and the money is then distributed according to the performance of the teachers.

  • Greenwich Free School in south-east London, which has adopted as one of its underlying principles that it is performance that drives pay and progression rather than tenure. No teacher receives pay progression by time served, but instead according to their performance in annual appraisals. For example, a teacher who receives a judgement of good, strong or excellent in their annual appraisal will progress one scale point on the relevant pay scale.

  • The Harris Federation provides a range of financial incentives and bonuses for good performance at its academies, including for attendance and examination performance.

  • Capital City Academy, which is a specialist sports and arts academy in Brent, north-west London, rewards its staff for running extra-curricular classes - teachers are rewarded with a lump sum of up to £1,400 per year if they provide 3 or more hours of extra-curricular activities per week, and if their sessions are attended by more than 10 students on a regular basis.

  • Ark Schools, an educational charity running a number of academies and free schools, rewards its teachers for their flexibility in terms of their agreement to enable the schools to operate a longer school day by paying an additional 2.5% above the rates set out in the School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document.

International evidence

Research has also shown clearly the importance of designing career pathways and differentiating rewards so that the most effective teachers can be rewarded for their work in the classroom based on performance rather than time served.

In the US, a report from the Gates Foundation - Empowering effective teachers – readiness for reform - recognises that a teacher’s effectiveness has more impact on student learning than any other factor under the control of school systems. It offers examples of how teacher effectiveness can be measured, including through classroom observation.

Similarly, a report from the Grattan Institute in Australia - What teachers want – better teacher management - demonstrates the importance of recognising effective teachers and finding ways of linking teachers’ pay to their performance.

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