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Balls rejects call to cut responsibility payments

Teachers' leaders and the Government have rejected proposals that risked cutting the pay of thousands of special educational needs teachers.

The School Teachers' Review Body (STRB), which advises ministers on pay, had suggested overhauling the allowances system for teachers with significant responsibility for SEN.

Currently, teachers qualify for one of two fixed allowances - the minimum is almost #163;2,000, going up to #163;3,865 for those with more advanced skills.

The STRB had proposed replacing these with a sliding scale, starting at just #163;1,000.

Schools Secretary Ed Balls and social partner unions - which excludes the NUT and National Association of Head Teachers - agreed that changes to the system are needed.

But they argued that a payment of #163;1,000 "does not recognise sufficiently the important contribution made by SEN teachers".

It "would not encourage teachers to take the necessary additional training to be effective SEN practitioners or reflect the rigorous criteria that would have to be met before eligibility for an SEN payment is established," their joint evidence to the STRB said.

The Association of Teachers and Lecturers had been particularly outspoken about the proposed changes, describing them as "deplorable" when they were first put forward.

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