Nearly three out of four headteachers and senior teachers believe there is not enough freedom for schools to sack poorly performing teachers according to a new poll published today by the Sutton Trust.

This is the view also of more than half the teachers in the country according to the Teacher Voice Omnibus Survey carried out  by the NFER (National Foundation for Educational Research)for the Trust which campaigns for greater social mobility. Only 21% of teachers thought schools had enough powers.

The NFER comments: “The responses of primary and secondary teachers were similar but there were notable differences between the responses of senior leaders and class teachers. Seventy-three per cent of senior leaders compared to 52 per cent of classroom teachers, considered that there was not enough freedom to dismiss poorly performing teachers.”

Teachers also supported the suggestion that schools should offer pay incentives of the order of £10,000 above normal salaries to recruit and retain effective teachers. Fifty-one per cent agreed with this idea as opposed to 31% who disagreed with it. But the researchers say that some of the responses may have been influenced by the two-year pay freeze for teachers between 2011 and 2013.

The  survey covered more than 2,170 teachers in England  last November. They were also asked  to state their top spending priority for the new pupil premium.  Given 15 alternatives, nearly half (44%) opted for smaller classes. This was followed by additional teachers (16%) and more support staff (14%).

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