Evaluation of Teachers' Pay Reform
19 October 2017
This report provides findings from research which explored schools’ responses to recent changes to the system for deciding teachers’ and leaders’ pay. This included the abolition of automatic progression for teachers and the introduction of performance-related pay. The project was commissioned by the Department for Education and undertaken by a team from the NFER, the Institute for Fiscal Studies, the University of Bristol and the University of Texas at Austin. The study ran from 2014 to 2017 and involved a rapid review of research literature, large-scale headteacher and teacher surveys, case-study visits to eight schools, and an analysis of national data.
- Almost all local authority maintained schools have introduced pay reform, as have a majority of academies, even though academies were not required to do so.
- The introduction of pay reforms appears to have gone smoothly, although many teachers (66 per cent) reported that the process of gathering and reviewing evidence for performance reviews has added to their workload.
- Many schools were still awarding annual increases in line with the previous ‘spine points’, but there is evidence of an increased variance in annual teacher pay awards following the reforms, suggesting that some schools had moved away from the previous system.
- Fewer than one in ten headteachers (7 per cent) reported that the pay reforms had had a positive impact on their efforts to recruit teachers, although a third reported that the pay reforms had impacted positively on their ability to keep their existing teachers.
- It appears that most schools have adopted similar reforms. This is likely to have been affected by the period of public sector pay restraint, which coincided with the pay reforms, as well as a desire by headteachers to adopt similar policies to those of neighbouring schools.