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Performance related pay – pay determinations

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The School Teachers Pay and Conditions Document (STPCD) 2013 introduced the concept of performance related pay for all teaching staff. Now, a year on from its introduction, the time has come for pay determinations to be made based on teachers’ individual performance and not on their length of service. For the first time, an underperforming teacher will not automatically move up the pay scale and the school can refuse to award such teacher a pay increase.

Performance related pay

Historically, teachers would automatically progress up the main pay scale each year, even where there were existing performance issues. The STPCD 2013 radically changed this and introduced performance-related pay for teachers. The new rules provide schools with greater autonomy and flexibility allowing them to recognise and reward individual teachers for their performance and their contribution to their school’s success.

Whilst the STPCD 2013 came into force last September, it only pays determinations from this September that will be based on performance. Pay determinations must relate to a teacher’s performance as assessed through your school’s own appraisal arrangements (which should have implemented last September).

It is important that a recommendation on pay is made in writing as a part of a teacher’s appraisal report and the Governing Body must have regard to that recommendation when making a decision.

Things to remember

  • Pay decisions for teachers must be made annually with effect from 1 September and no later than 31 October each year or 31 December for headteachers (you need to be doing these now if you have not done so already).
  • You must inform the teacher in writing of the school’s decision regarding their pay at the earliest opportunity but in any event within one month of a decision being made.
  • Teachers’ performance should have been monitored throughout 2013-2014 in accordance with the school’s appraisal policy. The quality of the performance appraisal system in your school is key to successful performance-related pay.
  • Schools are free to withhold pay progression even where capability proceedings have not been initiated.
  • Teachers can formally appeal a pay decision if, for example, they believe that the person or committee by whom the decision was made:

(a) incorrectly applied the school’s pay policy;

(b) incorrectly applied any provision of the STPCD;

(c) failed to have proper regard to statutory guidance;

(d) failed to take proper account of relevant evidence;

(e) took account of irrelevant or inaccurate evidence;

(f) was biased; or

(g) unlawfully discriminated against the teacher.

  • We know that September 2015 seems a long way off but, assuming your appraisal period runs from September to August each year, you will need to be sitting down with all teaching staff now to inform them of the standards against which their performance will be assessed over the next academic year to assist with pay decisions next September.

Warnings

  • It is important that you have followed your own appraisal and pay policies, as teachers can appeal against a pay decision.
  • All pay decisions must be made against objective criteria so that there is no discriminatory effect on any teacher or group of teachers. Failure to do so could result in a discrimination claim and/or an equal pay claim.
  • Keep your pay and appraisal policies under review to ensure they meet the needs and requirements of the school.

If you are concerned about pay determinations or want further advice on this or any other area of employment law affecting your school, please contact the team for a confidential chat.

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