Implementing your School’s Approach to Pay

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The DfeE have recently updated their non statutory guidance for schools and academies – Implementing your Schools Approach to Pay.

The document provides best practice advice to governors and school leaders regarding their approach to teachers’ pay. Reflecting other recent Dfe initiatives to address concerns associated with teacher workload, the revised guidance places a new emphasis on reducing the workload associated with the pay and appraisal process. The new guidance states:

‘….. schools must take into account when developing, implementing and reviewing pay and appraisal policies the need to minimise the impact on workload for individual teachers, line managers and headteachers. Schools should always seek …… to avoid unnecessary bureaucracy for all parties concerned……Policies and processes should be proportionate and able to support robust decisions and use evidence in appraisal decisions that is readily available from day to day practice in school’.

Reflecting the recommendations of the recent Making Data Work report – the updated guidance emphasises that pay progression decisions should not solely be dependent on pupil assessment targets and outcomes.

The guidance also details of the evidence of performance management documentation Ofsted inspectors may request to view. It clarifies that there is no expectation that inspectors will require performance management targets to be based on assessment data or that anonymised details of teachers’ performance management outcomes need be provided.

The updated guidance also reminds schools that where pay policies allow for accelerated or differentiated rates of pay progression – the performance expectations for the different rates of progression should be clearly set out at the start of the appraisal cycle. It also reiterates guidance that the pay range of leadership teachers should only be reviewed where there has been a significant change to the responsibilities of the post.

Finally, the guidance emphasises the duty schools have to ensure staff wellbeing is routinely considered throughout the performance management process. In particular schools are advised to ensure that care is taken in respect of those teachers who have different working patterns or those with particular protected characteristics to ensure any assessment of performance and pay decisions are fair and based on success criteria which are within the individual’s control.

Schools may wish to take this opportunity to review their current pay and appraisal policies in the light of this updated guidance and consider whether any current practices can be streamlined or simplified to address any unnecessary workload.