However, and particularly since performance-related pay was introduced, it has forced leaders to use data as a performance measure for staff, as well as for the organisation. Staff too have, understandably, focused their thinking on the same sets of measures; they also accept the stress that quality assurance and accountability processes, such as lesson observation, create because they are linked to pay.
Now, however, there is change on the horizon. In its response to the Workload Advisory Group report Making Data Work (2019) ministers signalled that they shared the group’s view that assessment data for one set of pupils should not be the sole basis for objectives and performance management, adding: “We also agree that objectives should not be based on teacher-generated attainment or progress data or automatically generated predictions.”
Even post-pandemic, the Government is unlikely to abandon GCSEs and other exams wholesale but the value of high-stakes testing is already being reflected upon more closely than it has been for years.
Research tells us that performance-related pay is not the answer to driving improvement in education either. The 2012 PISA Report, ‘Does performance-related pay improve teaching?’ found that “. . . countries that have succeeded in making teaching an attractive profession have often done so not just through pay, but by raising the status of teaching, offering real career prospects, and giving teachers responsibility as professionals and leaders of reform.”