Teacher pay rise 'has small impact'

The Oxford Times: Giving teachers a modest pay rise has little effect on pupil attainment, a study has found Giving teachers a modest pay rise has little effect on pupil attainment, a study has found

Paying primary school teachers up to 5% more has little impact on pupils' achievement, according to research.

The study by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) concludes that giving moderately higher salaries to all staff across the board does not make much difference to attainment.

It suggests that individual schools will not necessarily attract better teachers by offering slightly more pay.

Researchers at the IFS compared pupil attainment in primary schools close to the fringe of London. Salary scales for teachers just inside this area are just under 5% - around £1,000 higher - than those for teachers working in schools just outside the fringe.

Their findings show that there is "little evidence" that the higher teacher salary scales increase children's achievements in English and maths at the end of primary school.

"The difference in pupil attainment between schools on either side of the pay boundary is very close to zero for both English and maths," the document says.

The researchers said: "For these schools, and for the salary differences of just under 5% that we observe, we do not find evidence that higher salary scales for teachers have much impact on pupil attainment.

"This suggests that if individual schools offered salary differentials on this scale, they would not necessarily attract more effective teachers."

The IFS report says that the findings are consistent with other research which has indicated that teachers' decisions about where to work are linked to non-financial factors - such as a school's environment.

A third study found that a 10% increase in local "outside" wages for teachers - what they could earn outside of the classroom - reduces students' test scores at age 16 by around 2%, suggesting that good teachers may be aware of pay differentials when starting their career or choosing where to teach, but the effect is quite small.

"Taken together, our respective estimates suggest that the effect of relatively small changes in pay on pupil attainment is either zero or relatively small, and that this seems to apply both to the effect of local wages and salary differentials across schools," the IFS said.

The IFS's report goes on to say that its study only looks at relatively small changes in salaries, and does not give much information about the effect of larger changes in pay, or what would happen in the long-term if teachers' pay was to change significantly.

The study adds that there is some evidence that performance related pay - where teachers are paid depending on how well they perform in the classroom, rather than salaries set across the board - has a modest effect on pupil attainment.

It concludes: "Overall there is a remarkable lack of clear evidence about which combination of measures is likely to be the most effective in attracting more high quality teachers into the profession or in attracting the best teachers to particular schools.

"Our research suggests that modest across-the-board pay rises are not likely to be the answer, at least in the short run."

The report comes amid the introduction of major new reforms which will see teachers' pay in England linked to performance in the classroom in future, with schools setting salaries, rather than following a national framework.

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