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Hansard 17 Feb: Column 1094-1097 ...
Hansard 17 Feb: Column 1094-1097

Barnsley Labour MPs Michael Clapham and Eric Illsley criticised the introduction of performance threshold pay for teachers in the commons.

Mr Clapham, MP for Barnsley West and Penistone, said he believed the performance threshold payments could undermine morale among teachers.

Mr Illsey, MP for Barnsely Central, said Barnsely was a low income-areas, where GDP was 66% of European average and was lower than that of Poland and Portugal. As a result, there was less ability for parents to buy books, low ownership of computers and internet access, and, hence low educational achievement.

'Will not teachers in Barnsley, when judged on the basis of pupil progress and attainment, be at a disadvantage because of that lower educational achievement, which has been caused by low incomes? Might not assessing teachers on that basis also make it more difficult for Barnsley to attract quality teachers who could take advantage of the performance pay proposals?' he asked.

Education secretary David Blunkett said Barnsley teachers would not be disadvantaged because the achievement of the child at the point at which a teacher took responsibility was taken into account in the assessment process. They would be rewarded on the progress made with their pupils.

Mr Blunkett, who once taught in Barnsley, told Mr Clapham that if he told his former students from the coalfield representatives that they would have an above-inflation pay rise; that, if they did

their job well, they would receive£2,000; that once they received the£2,000 they would enter a new incremental scale, and that on that scale they could earn up to£30,000 a year 'I would think that their morale would have improved. I should think that they would also wholeheartedly have welcomed that enormous boost in pay for teachers'.

Former head teacher Phil Willis, Liberal Democrat MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough, said he had reservations about performance related pay, but if the scheme was to work effectively money would not only have to be additional, but ring-fenced and guaranteed to those who passed

the threshold. There were guarantees for two years. Unless there were guaranteed payments and guarantees that payments would not come out of school budgets, 'the entire scheme will be a sham'.

Shadow education secretary Theresa May said one reason many teachers were worried by the new pay arrangements was where the money would come from in the long-term. Despite Mr Blunkett's claims about extra funding for LEAs, the government had again failed to fund the

teachers' basic pay award.

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