Socialist Worker

Strikes not ‘unpopular’ - what the teachers survey really showed

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2364

Teachers in Coventry supporting colleagues on strike in the north west of England in June

Teachers in Coventry supporting colleagues on strike in the north west of England in June (Pic: Chris Denson)


Right wing newspapers made much of a survey on attitudes to teachers’ pay last week.

They claimed that the survey by Populus showed that most people backed the Tories’ plan to bring in performance-related pay for teachers.

It’s true that 61 percent of 1,723 people agreed that headteachers should be able to set individual teachers’ pay based on performance.

But the wording of the questions encouraged respondents to look at pay in terms of “performance”.

So it didn’t simply ask if people agreed that workers doing the same job should be paid the same.

Instead it asked if, “Two teachers in the same job, with the same length of service, should always receive the same salary regardless of the outcome of their annual performance appraisal”.

The survey also found that those most supportive of planned teachers’ strikes this year were in the north west of England. This is where teachers struck in June—indicating that strikes help build support for taking action.

The north west also had the highest number of respondents who think teachers with the same length of service should get the same pay.

And class affected how people saw pay. Those who defined themselves in the lowest class—which the survey called DE—were most likely to agree that pay shouldn’t be based on performance.

But support for this dropped to 30 percent for C2s and to 24 percent for C1s and ABs—the higher classes.

Populus followed up its survey with a glowing report of a talk by Tory education secretary Michael Gove. 

The talk was at a Perspective for Education event—hosted by Populus.

 


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