Mixed report on performance pay

By Dana Kinita

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Rotorua Boys' High School principal Chris Grinter says a move to performance-based funding for schools and teachers would recognise the best of our teachers. Photo/File
Rotorua Boys' High School principal Chris Grinter says a move to performance-based funding for schools and teachers would recognise the best of our teachers. Photo/File

There's mixed feelings among Rotorua principals on the possibility of performance-based funding for schools and teachers.

Rotorua Intermediate School principal Garry de Thierry said there were anomalies with that system.

"Who decides the funding model? Decile funding, despite its flaws, is pretty clear cut based on data from the Census," Mr de Thierry said. "We have no idea how it would be based, whether students will need to meet national standard levels or above or if it will be based on the progress a student has made - which is completely different because it's not only a case of academics but about successfully changing attitudes."

Mr de Thierry said performance-based payments would encourage teachers to want the most academic students in their classrooms for monetary rewards. "If that's the case, they're in education for the wrong reason. It's about getting the school culture right. All of the students belong to all of us and it's about doing the best we can for them."

Mr de Thierry said his staff were open with each other, and shared resources and having performance-based pays would go against the whole grain of a supportive network.

However Rotorua Boys' High School principal Chris Grinter said he saw a change in funding as a positive move.

"I'm excited for sure because I think the best of our teachers should be financially recognised for their excellent work. We should be recognising and rewarding the very best," Mr Grinter said.

He said the model needed to be worked out and explored but that shouldn't take away the opportunity for top teachers to benefit. "Every profession gives bonus payments as a reward for those who are the very best, so it should be the same for teachers."

Mr Grinter said said he wasn't uncomfortable with school funding shifting to achievement-based funding as the current decile model contributed about 12 per cent of the school's operational funding.

Kaitao Middle School principal Rory O'Rourke supported the decile-based funding system but agreed hard working teachers did need to be recognised. "We're all for it. We are a decile 2 school and we certainly need the money to provide the programmes we do," he said. "I think in this day and age teachers need to have a clear career structure and performance based funding will help with that and also help with retaining some of our top teachers in the classroom."

- Rotorua Daily Post

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