Centre for Economic Performance (CEP)


Performance Pay And Appraisal For School Teachers

LSE study of the new teachers' pay system in England and Wales

Teachers and performance pay in 2014: first results of a survey is now available (in pdf).

Will linking pay progression to appraisal improve the educational performance of our schools in England and Wales? Will it provide significant new incentives for teachers, or are they already working as hard as they can? Will it result in a fairer allocation of pay, or will it provoke jealousies between those who receive performance-related awards and those who do not? Will it help schools achieve a better link between the priorities of individual teachers and those of their schools, or will it undermine the teamwork and cooperation essential for a good education? Does linking appraisal to pay progression make everyone take appraisals more seriously, or does it distort them by making teachers reluctant to discuss development needs? How will schools use the new autonomy given to them over pay and appraisal? Will there be a significant difference between short and longer-run effects? These are just some of the key questions raised by the new pay system for classroom teachers in England and Wales.

The London School of Economics is doing an independent study of the new system to address these questions. The study is designed to follow the experience of individual teachers and their schools over four years to measure both short- and longer-term changes. Schools differ greatly from one another, and the new scheme gives them greater autonomy in how they adapt it to fit their own needs. This study will also explore how different approaches to linking pay progression and appraisal work in different types of schools, and whether there are any general lessons.

These are important questions, and there is every reason to expect the research findings to influence future policy on appraisal and pay progression in schools. All seven teachers' unions, the School Governors' Associations, and the Local Government Associations in England and Wales have expressed a strong interest in this research. The research is independently funded by the LSE as part of its work on public services.

To make this research possible, I am asking head teachers to complete an online questionnaire about their schools' arrangements for appraisal and pay, and classroom teachers to complete one about their experiences and views relating to these. By linking the replies from leaders and teachers in the same schools, I hope to identify some of the different models used by schools to link pay and appraisal. By linking individual replies before and after implementation, I aim to track their effects on teachers' work and motivation. The second stage of the survey of classroom teachers is scheduled for mid-March 2015.

So that I may examine the relationship between school-level policies and teachers' motivation, and how it evolves, I shall need to ask you for the name of your school. I shall also ask you for an email address for the follow-up survey. This information will be used exclusively for the purposes of this research.

The identities of all schools and teachers participating in this project will remain STRICLTY CONFIDENTIAL. Data will at all times be held in a secure environment. LSE uses the Qualtrics survey software which is widely used for surveys where confidentiality is essential. When preparing results for public presentation, I shall follow the guidelines of the Office for National Statistics for preserving confidentiality of respondents' information in its publications.

At each stage of the project, I shall write short summaries of the results so that you may read them on the project's website. If you have given your email when replying to the questionnaire, I shall notify you personally when they are ready and send you the link. If you would like to know more about previous research by LSE's Centre for Economic Performance , please search for my name among the Centre's Publications/Discussion Papers.

Thank you very much for your help with this important research project.

David Marsden
Professor of Industrial Relations
London School of Economics