ATL/NUT survey shows that teachers reject the PRP system that is holding down their pay

10 February 2017

More teachers are being denied a pay rise due to the Government’s performance related pay (PRP) system, according to a joint survey by the NUT and ATL teacher unions published today, making it even harder for schools to recruit teachers.

The survey of 13,000 teachers was carried out in December and asked teachers about pay progression for the current school year starting in September 2016. It is the largest survey on pay progression available.

By December 2016, almost one quarter of teachers were still waiting to hear whether they would be awarded pay progression for the current school year. Many of them said they did not know when they would be told.

Among those teachers who had been told the decision on their pay progression:

  • more teachers had been denied pay progression in 2016 than in 2015, with one in five (21%) teachers having been denied progression, up from last year’s 19%;
  • 15% of those teachers had been explicitly told this was on the basis of funding and budgetary constraints, rather than performance;
  • teachers in academies were more likely to have been denied progression than teachers in local authority schools (23% compared to 17%); and
  • rates of non-progression were far higher for part-time teachers (38%) than for full-time teachers (18%);

Teachers from minority ethnic backgrounds were more likely to have been denied progression than other teachers, and over half of women teachers absent on maternity leave during the year who were eligible for progression had been turned down, showing that many decisions are in clear contravention of equalities law.

Among those turned down for progression:

  • almost 90% said that they had had no warning that they might not progress, despite Department for Education advice to schools that this should never happen; and
  • almost 90% thought that the decision about their pay progression was unfair.

Among all respondents:

  • over one-third said that their school did not have a written policy setting out how pay progression works; and
  • over one-third thought that their school’s policy on pay progression was unfair, rising to over half of those who said their school did not have a written policy.

ATL General Secretary Mary Bousted said: “ATL and NUT members clearly believe that linking pay and performance is not fair for teachers or pupils. School leaders and teachers are having to spend far too much valuable teaching and learning time on paperwork and admin to decide pay awards. Performance related pay is threatening collegiate working in schools, demoralising teachers who feel they have been unfairly treated and undermining the valuable contribution that performance appraisal can, and should, make to improving teaching - and pupils will lose out as a result.”

NUT General Secretary Kevin Courtney said: “The NUT/ATL survey again proves that PRP is not about rewarding good work but is about unfairly denying pay rises to manage declining budgets - in ways that are clearly discriminating in many cases. The uncertainty about pay progression is putting many graduates off entering teaching or staying in teaching, and the funding crisis is clearly denying many teachers the progression that they are due. We need to remove this discredited and discriminatory pay system now.”

Teachers Building Society