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Governors ignore heads' pay rules

Review body survey shows senior staff are receiving rises irrespective of their performance. Frances Rafferty reports

MORE than half of school governing bodies are not using the proper procedures to determine pay for heads and deputies.

A survey by the teachers' pay review body shows that most governors ignored the criteria - introduced three years ago - against which the performance of senior staff should be judged.

Nevertheless, 29 per cent of heads and 27 per cent of deputies received rises of at least one point (pound;400-pound;1,000) on top of the annual settlement.

The failure could have implications for Labour's proposals to link all teaching salaries to performance.

This month the technical details of the Government' plans to "modernise" the profession will be published. It is expected to cover how a performance-related pay scale can be administered.

The survey also shows that the use of excellence points, awarded to high-performing teachers, remains low at 0.3 per cent.

Pat Petch, chairman of the National Governors' Council, said: "Most governors are not comfortable with the criteria. They are too narrow or include jobs a head should be doing anyway."

There could also be trouble in store for the Government's plans to give primary school heads higher rewards.

The review body, as part of its remit from the Education Secretary, has been asked to look at ways to improve primary teachers' pay. But its survey shows that the smaller the school, the less likely it is that a head will receive additional pay points. Only 20 per cent of heads in small Group 1 schools were awarded extra points, compared with 36 per cent in Group 3 schools. This suggests smaller schools cannot afford to pay their head more.

Just under a third (31 per cent) of classroom teachers are on spine points 9.5 to 11 (pound;23,097-pound;25,215). Fewer than 100 teachers nationally are thought to be on the maximum scale (pound;35,787).

The figures on recruitment should also ring alarm bells. Of the 47,000 full-time teachers who joined schools between September 1997 and 1998 only 8 per cent were returners after a break in service. The vast bulk were newly qualified. This shows that the Government's attempts to lure former teachers and others from business into the classroom will start at a very low base.

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