Graham Stuart, chairman of the Commons education select committee, said the worst staff should be “removed from the profession” to prevent long-term damage to pupils’ progress. He also criticised opposition to the changes from unions, saying it “doesn’t make sense” to pay lazy staff working in leafy suburbs as much as inspirational teachers in tough inner-city schools. But the National Union of Teachers hit back at the proposed changes, claiming they would promote a culture of “mutual distrust” in the staffroom and promote a culture of “teaching to the test”. The comments came after it emerged that the Department for Education had written to the body set up to review teachers’ pay seeking proposals for a stronger link between salaries and classroom performance. The move has been backed by MPs on the cross-party select committee. In a report, they said that staff should be rewarded for “adding the greatest value” to pupils’ results. Speaking after the publication of the report on Tuesday, Mr Stuart said: “We need to reward the best and we also need to identify those in whose classes children don’t learn and ensure that they are supported to improve or removed from the profession.” He asked why “someone who is making limited progress in their classroom in the leafy suburbs should be paid as much as an inspirational teacher in the toughest parts of the inner-city who is making a huge difference to kids so easily left behind”. “It doesn’t make sense,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. “In any other walk of life, where there is a huge difference in contribution between professionals we would seek to ensure that you had a reward system that reinforces success and encourages people to improve.” But Kevin Courtney, deputy general secretary of the NUT, said it was impossible to “disentangle” the performance of one teacher from another. “You will build a huge incentive to teach to the test and you will also build a level of distrust in the staffroom that will be inimical to education,” he said. He said any performance-related pay system would depend on the amount of progress teachers make with individual pupils. “That’s determined by what the teacher the year before says the achievement of their child was, so if that teacher over-claims, then they are reducing your potential pay,” he said. “Because of that, you are building in a mutual distrust to a system. Schools are teams, and you have to have that teamwork, but these proposals go in the wrong direction”.