First strikes over axing of management points

The first one-day strikes in protest at plans to restructure senior teachers' pay will take place next week unless last ditch attempts at compromise succeed.

Teachers at Hipperholme and Lightcliffe high school in Halifax, are ready to walk out over changes which will cut some teachers' salaries by thousands of pounds.

National Union of Teachers members at a second, unnamed, school are also preparing to walk out although the NUT said they still hoped to avoid action.

But NASUWT members at Noel-Baker school in Derby have postponed strike action pending a further meeting with the school next week. They had been set to take action despite their union's national support for reform.

The dispute centres on the replacement of management allowances with teaching and learning responsibility payments. All schools have to review their staffing structure by the end of this month and can introduce TLRs from January 1.

The NUT, excluded from talks with the Government over the changes, has held formal ballots in 10 schools, all of which have voted in favour of action.

Informal ballots, designed to put pressure on heads but which do not give a legal right to strike, have been held in about 150 schools.

Management allowances have been frozen for the past two years. This week the Government accepted the School Teachers' Review Body recommendation that the value of TLRs should increase by 2.5 per cent, in line with teachers' salaries, in each of the next two years.

Allowances for teachers with special needs responsibilities will rise by the same amount. However, the review body suggested the future of these should be reviewed in light of the introduction of TLRs, after heads warned of confusion over which allowance some teachers should receive.

The review body also criticised the Government for failing to link the payment of higher special needs allowances to teachers' professional qualifications.

While management allowances of up to pound;10,500 can be awarded for administrative responsibilities, the new TLRs will be focused solely on teaching and learning.

Teachers currently getting managment allowances but who will not qualify for a TLR will have their existing salaries protected until the end of 2007.

More than 170,000 teachers received management allowances last year.

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