PAY PROGRESSION IN 2014:
NUT SURVEY REPORT,
September 2014 saw the full implementation of the Government’s changes to the teachers’ pay progression framework, which link pay progression to appraisal outcomes for all teachers at all points of the pay structure and which allow schools to set their own criteria for progression in their pay policies.
This paper reports on the result of an NUT survey of members, undertaken in early December 2014, which sought to investigate:
the outcomes of pay progression decisions taken during the Autumn term 2014;
teachers’ views on the fairness of those decisions and of the school pay policies which underpinned them; and
the impact of the new pay framework on teachers’ workload and on appraisal.
As well as continuing its efforts to protect teachers in individual schools against unfair pay policies, the NUT will be seeking to ensure that that the DfE and employers publish full information on rates of progression and non-progression, including patterns among particular groups of teacher. Given our survey findings, we continue to believe that a fundamental re-think of these provisions is necessary.
Among all respondents:
half of all teachers say that their school's pay policy is unfair;
60% say that PRP has undermined appraisal for professional development purposes;
over 60% say that their appraisal objectives for this year are more demanding than before; and
61% of appraisers say that the link with pay progression has increased their workload as appraisers significantly.
Among those eligible for progression:
28% of those who have been notified have been denied pay progression;
the proportion of primary teachers turned down for progression is one third higher than the proportion of secondary teachers turned down;
the proportion of minority ethnic teachers turned down is around half as high again as the proportion of white British teachers turned down; and
the proportion of part time teachers turned down is almost twice as high as the proportion of full time teachers turned down.
Among those turned down for progression:
89% think that the decision about their pay progression was unfair;
88% say that they had had no warning that they might not progress; and
76% say that they are not going to appeal, commonly saying that they think they see "no point" in doing so.
THE SURVEY RESPONSE
The survey received 4950 responses. The sample for the survey included teachers in all grades and at all points of the pay scale.
In presenting the responses, the NUT accepts that the nature of the survey means that the response may be overweight in terms of the proportion of respondents who did not receive pay progression. There is, however, no reason to believe that the views and circumstances of those respondents turned down for progression - just over 600 in number - are not representative of all teachers turned down for progression this year. Similarly, there is no reason to believe that respondents who were ineligible for progression, or who were eligible and received progression, are not representative of all teachers in those groups.
This report recognises, where appropriate, the influence of a potentially overweight response from teachers who did not receive progression, while identifying clearly the results to which immediate credibility can be attached without seeking confirmation.
PERSONAL PAY PROGRESSION
In total, 61% of respondents were eligible for pay progression in September 2014.
Of those respondents eligible for progression:
68% were on the Main Pay Scale in the previous academic year;
27% were on the Upper Pay Scale (24% on U1 and U2 and 3% on "other UPS" points; and
4% were on the Leadership or Leading Practitioner pay scales.
55% have received pay progression, while 21% have not received progression and 24% had not been notified of the outcome at the time of the survey
Therefore, over a quarter (28%) of those notified of the outcome have been denied pay progression. While this result must be treated with caution due to the potentially overweight response from teachers denied progression, it is nonetheless higher than levels of non-progression in recent years.
The survey asked respondents denied progression to indicate what reasons, if any, were given to seek to justify the denial of progression. Not all respondents gave details but just over one third (36%) cite alleged issues around pupil progress objectives, 20% cite alleged issues around other objectives, and 15% cite alleged issues with standards of teaching.
The vast majority of respondents fundamentally disagree with these judgements. When asked how they felt about the decision, 89% say that they think the decision was unfair.
Furthermore, despite the DFE's advice to schools that there should be "no surprises" at the end of the appraisal cycle, 88% of these respondents say that they were given no indication during the year that they might fail to receive progression.
However, 76% say they will not be appealing the decision, with substantial numbers saying that they see "no point" in doing so due to the attitude of their head teacher or governors, for example saying that they have been specifically told by their head teacher not to appeal or that an appeal would not be well received. Another worrying outcome is the large number of respondents who say that they were not told that it is possible to appeal.
The NUT has warned that many decisions under the new system will be based on inappropriate criteria. The responses to the survey appear to bear this out. For example, some respondents say that they were told that they did not receive progression because their teaching was “good but not outstanding”, or even “not consistently outstanding despite elements of outstanding” - a clear breach of the statutory provision that “continued good performance” should result in progression to the top of the pay scale. More worryingly, several respondents say that they did not receive progression due to their absence on maternity leave, which obviously raises questions with regard to unlawful sex discrimination.
As noted earlier, there is no reason to believe that the 603 survey respondents who did not receive progression are not representative of all teachers turned down for progression this year. For that reason, the survey’s data on the personal characteristics of those teachers denied pay progression must be treated seriously. They suggest that, as the NUT warned, there are particular groups of teachers who are now at ever greater risk of non-progression compared to teachers in other groups or teachers generally.
Responses by sector show a significantly higher rate of denial of progression in primary schools than in secondary schools. The proportion of eligible primary teachers denied progression was one third higher than that for secondary teachers.
The NUT has also warned that the new system - for which no equality impact assessment was conducted by the STRB when recommending its adoption - would lead to discrimination. Responses by ethnicity show higher rates of denial of pay progression among teachers identifying themselves as Black / Black British or Asian / Asian British than among teachers identifying themselves as white British. Of those notified of the outcome, 34% of Black / Black British teachers and 40% of Asian / Asian British teachers eligible for progression have been denied progression, compared to 25% of white British teachers. The first two groups are also more likely to be still awaiting any response from their school about their pay progression. This suggests that the NUT's fears about discriminatory treatment of minority ethnic teachers are well founded.
Finally the survey showed that of those notified of the outcome, 42% of eligible part time teachers have not received pay progression, compared to 25% of full time teachers, meaning that the rate of denial of progression for part time teachers is almost twice as high as that for full time teachers.
The rates of denial of progression for male and female respondents are quite similar (26.5% and 28.5% of those notified). This reflects the lower rate of progression in primary schools where the workforce is more predominantly female - but leaves open the question of whether denial of progression in primary schools is due to gender or to other factors.
PAY PROGRESSION ACROSS THE SCHOOL / ATTITUDES TO SCHOOL PAY POLICY
The survey asked whether respondents know of any teachers, other than themselves, who have been turned down for progression. Among all respondents, 42% say Yes, with three quarters of these saying that they know more than one teacher who had been turned down.
Among those turned down for progression, however, 69% say Yes, with four fifths knowing more than one teacher other than themselves who have been turned down. This may suggest that schools fall into two categories - those that are allowing teachers to progress and those that are increasingly turning down entire groups of teachers for progression.
The survey also asked whether respondents think their school’s pay policy is fair or unfair. Among all respondents, 22% say it is fair, 51% say it is unfair, while 28% are Don't Knows. Among those turned down for progression, perhaps unsurprisingly, a far higher proportion - 67% - say they think the policy is unfair, while only 6% think it fair and 27% Don't Knows. Even among those respondents who received progression, almost half as many again - 44% compared to 22% - think their school’s policy is unfair rather than fair.
IMPACT ON APPRAISAL
The survey asked whether respondents think that the introduction of links between pay progression and appraisal has undermined appraisal for professional development purposes. Among those eligible for pay progression (who are most likely to notice such an effect), 79% of those denied progression say yes, while even among those receiving progression, 54% say yes.
The survey also asked those respondents who were themselves appraisers whether, from their perspective as an appraiser, they feel that the new system has undermined appraisal for professional development purposes. A total of 62% of appraisers say yes, indicating that reservations about the impact on appraisal are not restricted solely to those who are the subject of appraisal. It also asked them whether the new pay progression system had caused them extra workload as an appraiser. In response, 68% say that it did cause extra workload.
Finally, the survey asked whether respondents think that the appraisal objectives recently set for them for the 2014-15 appraisal year are harder than for the previous year. Over 60% say yes (this figure differs very little between those who received or were denied progression or were ineligible). This suggests that next year we may find even greater numbers of teachers turned down for pay progression.
National Union of Teachers