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The future looks fairer though a little poorer

Is your management allowance at risk? How do you feel about the prospect of a cut in pay? Dorothy Lepkowska garners opinions, while William Stewart reports on the reasons for the pay changes

Arts teacher Devon Walker is sanguine about the review of management allowances which could cut his pound;33,000 salary. The changes will "keep us on our toes" he says.

Mr Walker, head of expressive arts at Stretfield school, Manchester, has taught for 17 years and has three management points.

"The changes are scary but probably necessary. No one wants to lose money but the existing system is open to abuse.

"People get management allowances for jobs they sometimes did well and sometimes not at all. In future, we will be rewarding good teachers for consistently good work."

The changes are being proposed because the Government's pay review body discovered that many heads were awarding management points for reasons unconnected with teaching. They have been used as a quick fix to recruit and retain staff and in many cases the criteria have not been clear.

Two-thirds of the 50 teaching staff at Stretfield, which is in special measures, receive management allowances. They believe the new system will make heads and governors more accountable in the way they distribute bonuses. They are keen to see a fairer system.

Juliet Scoles has taught for eight years. She earns about pound;37,000, which includes five management points for being a head of year and head of Spanish. She believes her pay should stay the same.

"My responsiblities have a direct impact on learning. I am not opposed to the changes in pay as long as they are implemented fairly by the school," she said.

Raj Sunal, a teacher for four years, earns about pound;25,000. She has one management point for being in charge of the key stage 3 information and communications technology curriculum.

While not completely confident she would receive the new responsibility payments, Ms Sunal believes she has a case and says the changes make sense.

"Part of my job is building up the confidence of pupils in ICT, and developing the curriculum. Teachers who have the drive and ambition must be rewarded appropriately," she said.

Derek Davies, the school's head, believes that making a stronger link between promotion and teaching and learning is a fairer way to reward his staff.

"In a school like this everything has to be about what happens in the classroom. These changes will introduce an element of accountability and remove the idea that management points are for life," he said. "But there must be rigorous procedures so that it is fair."

Mr Davies's main gripe is the timetable for the new system. By the end of the year he will have had to review his staff and their allowances.

"I do think it will cause morale to dip and I am surprised that unions have not been more vocal about it. Generally heads and teachers are ignorant about it too, so it will come as a shock to many people," he said.

The staff were less sure about seeking the new excellent teacher status.

The role, worth pound;35,000, is for teachers on level three of the upper pay scale and involves acting as a mentor for colleagues.

Ms Sunal said: "I would want to know first how it is managed. I hope the criteria laid down are consistent nationally, and not just agreed at school level."

What is happening

* Teaching and learning payments worth pound;2,250-pound;11,000 to replace management allowances

* Schools to review staffing structures by the end of the year with changes in place by the end of 2008

* A new "gold standard" excellent teacher scheme offering the best classroom teachers a salary of pound;35,000

* New "safeguarding" arrangements protecting teachers from sudden salary cuts due to reorganisations for three years

* Secondary schools to be encouraged to create more maths and science advanced skills teacher posts and to pay them more.


See next week's Issue on advanced skills teachers in Friday magazine

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