In May 2012 PISA produced a report which you can still find online. It is entitled 'Does performance-based pay improve teaching?' and it compares the various conditions of service and pay structures in 30 different countries.
It wrestles with the difficulty of fairly measuring teachers' different contributions to
- pupils' progress
- school ethos
- curriculum breadth
- exam performance
- breadth of vision
- society's changing demands for particular subjects and skills.
It also tackles the vexed question of how you can separate an individual teacher's contribution from what is always a team performance as a school.
The report concludes that Performance Related Pay can only ever be part of the solution ... there is also a need for ....
"giving teachers responsibility as professionals and leaders of reform. This requires teacher education that helps teachers to become innovators and researchers in education, not just civil servants who deliver curricula." PISA report 2012
Of course, this is precisely what NWP advocates - a community of creative and reflective practitioners. (NWP principles) However, while particular repressive and reductive practices persist, while bureaucrats and politicians dictate to teachers and educators, there is still work to be done to improve dialogue and understanding for the well-being of all of us, not least for the children we teach.
And we are not alone in thinking this. There's supporting evidence coming from research into genetics and education. Consider words of one who works in the field, such as the psychologist, Kathryn Asbury, on Start the Week, 9.12.2013
"I love the idea that education will look at children and see different forms of beauty, and they won't be required by government systems to ... achieve exactly the same thing regardless of who they are and how they're made up and what their background is ... I think we have a situation where teachers recognise individuals but government doesn't, and maybe could do more than it does."
Yes. There is an imbalance here that needs to be redressed. Maybe MPs could be paid according to how well they listen to the people whom they represent, rather than how blindly they peddle their own prejudices. Now we're talking serious cost-cutting! The chancellor should be interested.
Simon Wrigley, NWP outreach director