Education Bill

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Mr. Willis: I am enormously saddened at the Minister's reply. I said that the amendments were probing, and I hope that he will reflect on his comments. He made the powerful statement that pay in schools in England and Wales will in future be subjected to a performance-related regime. The hon. Member for Epsom and Ewell (Chris Grayling) mentioned other private sector organisations. I stand to be corrected on this, but almost every private sector organisation that continues to have performance-related pay has an identifiable product on which to judge the performance of its employees. It can be profits or the number of units, widgets or whatever, but that is the case.

The other criterion for performance-related pay is having no glass ceiling for what people can earn. As soon as a limiting factor for performance bonuses is introduced, the whole scheme is undermined, which has been a problem in the past. As a head teacher, I had performance points to give out—they were introduced

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by the previous Government—but I had only two for the whole school. It was impossible to decide which two teachers should get those points.

We are talking not about appraisal, but performance-related pay. That is at the heart of the Government's vision for the modern teaching profession. Before I sit down, will the Minister guarantee that every school will have the resources to reward the teachers who go through the various hoops? I know that the Minister cannot promise that, because he knows that the Chancellor would not allow him to do so, and neither would it be reasonable for any Minister to ask the Chancellor for a blank cheque.

The Minister said that each school would produce its own arrangements. I accept that; the appraisal arrangements must be tailored to particular schools. However, it will mean that they will be vastly different unless regulations or guidelines on performance-related pay are introduced under subsections (5) and (6). If that happens, our schools will continue down the road on which this Government have been moving since 1997. The Government have done many decent things, but I would criticise them most for their mantra of valuing only what can be measured, rather than measuring what can be valued. That is a problem. Will such arrangements be introduced for the Department? Will all the civil servants be on performance-related pay? I suggest that the answer is no—the system only applies to teachers.

Chris Grayling: The hon. Gentleman has made some important points. The current performance-related pay regime has created complexity for head teachers. He made the point about the financial arrangements, and the Government have not provided adequate long-term security for schools. Several head teachers in my constituency have expressed concerns about promising performance-related pay as they are uncertain whether they will be able to afford it in two or three years' time.

Mr. Willis: I thank the hon. Gentleman, because I was moving on to that point.

Mr. Lewis: Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Willis: I will just finish my point.

I was going to ask the Minister whether the arrangements apply only to the management spine. There is a clear understanding that once a teacher goes through the threshold, he or she is then on a management pay spine with clear arrangements. Picking up the issue from the hon. Member for Epsom and Ewell, we have had no commitment from the Government that, as a result of the schemes that are to be introduced, the funding of the pay spine above the threshold will be met in full. The Minister may say today that it will, but will performance-related pay be introduced for the main profession spine? Will teachers be unable to move up to the next point on the spine unless they meet the performance-related criteria? If that is the case, the Minister's comments today will be of tremendous interest to every teacher in England and Wales, because it will fundamentally

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change their relationship with their schools. I am happy to give way to the Minister so that he can deal with this.

Mr. Lewis: I will do so in a moment.

James Purnell (Stalybridge and Hyde): Is the hon. Gentleman aware that even special advisers are on performance-related pay within the civil service? Unfortunately, some of us had bosses who did not rate our performance highly enough to give us those bonuses, but they were available. Also, they did not undermine our sense of performance within our teams.

Mr. Willis: That is a most interesting intervention. The hon. Gentleman failed to perform as a special adviser so they gave him a job as an MP, which is remarkable. That is how the Labour party selects its candidates. We know that Lord Woodhead of Smith Square will probably be joining us in another place; perhaps he will now become a Member of Parliament.

I have made the points that I wanted to make. This is a serious issue, and I would understand if the Minister wanted to reply in writing to some of the points, because the teachers' associations will listen carefully to today's exchanges and draw their own conclusions.

Mr. Lewis: First, there is a direct link between appraisal and performance-related pay for all civil servants in the Department, and there has been for 20 years, as the hon. Member for Harrogate and Knaresborough will be delighted to hear.

As the hon. Gentleman stated, the provision will apply to all teachers, not just the management spine. It is also clear that before the introduction of any regulations that changed the situation, there would have to be full consultation with all interested parties, including the teaching unions. It is disingenuous to present this as a sweeping or massive change in Government policy. The hon. Gentleman normally demonstrates integrity, but he wavers sometimes. He produces amendments that are nothing to do with the changes that he alleges the Government are planning for the teaching profession.

The amendments would separate performance-related pay and appraisal. The hon. Gentleman began his contribution by saying that he agreed with the principle of appraisal. He was absolutely clear about that. However, these amendments seek to remove the evidential base in making decisions about performance-related pay. I have not heard the hon. Gentleman say it during this debate—I may have missed it— but I do not think that he believes in performance-related pay. If he does not believe in performance-related pay for teachers or in any other setting, it would be more honest for him to say, ''I do not believe in performance-related pay, but I do believe in appraisal.'' That is really the core of the hon. Gentleman's contribution.

We believe that performance-related pay has a role to play in improving services. It is one lever that contributes towards supporting good teachers in an effort to raise standards in our schools.


This is nothing to do with the general points that the hon. Gentleman made in his contribution. Although I think that his points were legitimate, the amendments are designed purely to separate appraisal and performance-related pay. Other than in circumstances where a teacher consents to an appraisal being used, the two would be separate. That is completely illogical and would significantly undermine the whole purpose of the appraisal process.

There is a significant amount of discretion available to head teachers in terms of the judgments that they make about the performance of other teachers, and that is appropriate. The hon. Gentleman was absolutely right when he said that there is a variety of ways in which an individual contributes to a school. That contribution involves being a team player, being a supportive member of staff and involves the impact they will have on their colleagues. The hon. Gentleman should be clearer about whether his party believes in the principle of performance-related pay and appraisal.

While there are some organisations that separate the two —I would not pretend that this is a unique or novel suggestion, as there are some organisations that make that judgment —we have a responsibility to ensure that the decisions made on performance are significantly based on evidence, and are in accordance with a framework that is clear about the standards that the process needs to have attached to it.

The hon. Gentleman referred to the very early days of performance-related pay and appraisal, and said what a joke it was. We are seeking to put in place a professional framework that is transparent and fair, and that considers hard evidence about a teacher's performance when it is linked to any decisions about pay. On that basis, I again ask the hon. Gentleman to remove his amendment.

Mr. Willis: This has been an interesting debate, and I am sorry if the hon. Gentleman feels that I have been disingenuous, as that is genuinely not my style. I have tried to raise the issues. I said at the outset that these were probing amendments. I have listened to the Minister's comments and there is merit in some of his arguments.

It is interesting that two things have come out of this debate. First, we are now to have performance-related pay from the moment a person enters the teaching profession. That is what the Minister has said. This is a fundamental shift from anything that any Minister has said in the past. I thank the Minister for his honesty.

Secondly, we have had no guarantee that the commensurate resources will be provided so that schools can meet the scheme. Without that, performance-related pay is a joke. We cannot have one without the other.

Chris Grayling: Not only that, we do not have any guarantee that the Government will continue to fund the current scheme. All that I have been able to extract

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from the Government in a series of questions is that they are aware that it will have long-term cost implications and that they are looking into it.

Mr. Willis: The hon. Gentleman is right. I am sorry that I did not address that issue specifically. If he looks at Hansard from the last Parliament he will see that I asked the then Secretary of State a series of questions about the funding of the threshold. It was guaranteed for two years. After that we do not know. It will probably be in the standard spending assessment or the new arrangements. The hon. Member is absolutely right.

The Minister is wrong to say that one cannot have appraisal and separate arrangements for pay. Many organisations do. The horror scenario, if this is now Government policy, is that surgeons in my local hospital will be assessed for performance-related pay on the number of operations that they carry out or the number or deaths that occur on the operating table. We are talking about a profession, not about people who make a number of widgets every day. This is a professional activity that depends on a number of people. If the Minister had said that professional development should be at the heart of Government policy and that it should include professional competence and reward for that—that happens in a host of organisations—I could be with him. I cannot, however, support the narrow definition with another set of tick boxes. We will return to this. I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendments made: No. 348, in page 78, line 38, after 'authorities', insert 'in England'.

No. 349, in page 78, line 39, after 'authorities', insert 'in England'.

No. 350, in page 78, line 40, after second 'bodies', insert 'in England'.

No. 351, in page 78, line 41, after 'teachers', insert 'in England'.

No. 352, in page 78, line 42, at end insert—

    '( ) Before making regulations under this section the National Assembly for Wales shall consult such of the following as appear to it to be appropriate—

    (a) associations of local education authorities in Wales,

    (b) local education authorities in Wales,

    (c) bodies representing the interests of governing bodies in Wales,

    (d) bodies representing the interests of teachers in Wales, and

    (e) the National Council for Education and Training for Wales.'.

No. 353, in page 79, line 7, leave out subsection (8).—[Mr. Touhig.]

Question proposed, That the clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill.

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