A major survey of teachers has found widespread support for a link between teachers’ pay and their performance, with three-quarters of teachers believing that annual salary increases should be linked to performance.
Just over half (52%) felt that teachers should be awarded salary scale points annually, unless they are judged to have performed poorly. A further 23 per cent felt that the conditions should be more stringent, and scale points should only be awarded to those teachers who are judged to have performed well. 4 in 10 (39%) senior leaders were in favour of this most stringent option.
About two-thirds of teachers felt that performance should be judged by more senior staff, while nearly a half thought that their pupils’ progress and attainment should play a role.
The findings of the Sutton Trust survey come as the Government unveils plans to strengthen the link between teacher pay to pupil performance in the classroom. The vast majority of teachers currently receive extra pay increments every year.
The Sutton Trust is currently developing proposals to improve the effectiveness of teachers, looking at how teachers may be best developed and evaluated. This follows Sutton Trust research showing that English schools would be among the top five education performers in the world if the country’s least effective teachers were brought up to the national average .
The survey of nearly 1700 teachers from over 1200 primary and secondary schools across England was commissioned by the Sutton Trust and carried out by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) as a part of its Teacher Voice Omnibus.
Sir Peter Lampl, chairman of the Sutton Trust, said: “I believe the most important thing we can do for our children is improve the effectiveness of teachers. It is right that teachers’ pay should be related to their performance, and they should also be required to undertake professional development if they are not performing at an effective level. We need to strike the right balance between attempting to improve the performance of poorly performing teachers through professional development and our responsibility to safeguard children’s right to being taught effectively.”
Meanwhile, the survey found continuing opposition among teachers to some of the central structural reforms for schools introduced by the Government.
Two thirds (67%) of teachers believe it is a bad idea for poorly performing schools to be required by the Government to become academies. Nearly half (46%) of teachers are against schools applying to be converted into academies even when Governing bodies have voted to do so – opposed to 22% who are in favour of this. Two thirds (67%) of teachers are against the Government’s policy of encouraging the creation of Free Schools, with only 11% in favour.
In its 2011 survey, the Trust found that less than one in ten teachers thought the Government’s school reforms introducing more academies and establishing free schools would help improve the educational outcomes of disadvantaged pupils. 
Sir Peter Lampl said: “Teachers are the key players in implementing any school reforms, so it is a real concern for the Government that a significant majority remain unconvinced by the current policies to create academies and free schools.”
This survey found that nearly three-quarters of teachers (73%) were at least somewhat satisfied with their jobs. Almost two-thirds (64%) agreed that teachers should have a professional body in the same way as accountants, doctors and lawyers do, while only 13% disagreed.