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Hard choices go back to the SJNC

The Scottish Joint Negotiating Committee has been left to take the hard decisions on which the review could not agree. Foremost among these will be the creation of a "twin-track" promotion system, promised in Labour's election manifesto as a way of persuading talented teachers to remain in the classroom.

This is the Government's preferred option for putting more money into pay packets. It would be a "something for something" deal rather than a handout for all staff, which ministers would only be likely to fund if the SJNC agreed changes to conditions.

The task group that looked at management structures could not agree whether it wanted all unpromoted staff to be able to progress to superteacher status, or whether there should be a performance bar. The relationship of the new posts to the 6,000 senior teachers remains a puzzle.

There is no great enthusiasm for adopting the advanced skills teacher model, which is being introduced south of the border this month in the teeth of opposition from unions and heads. Advanced skills teachers would be paid Pounds 25,000-Pounds 40,000, working with teachers in other schools for a fifth of their time.

Most will be based initially in the new education action zones, the first 12 of which officially started last week. The Government announced last year that English authorities that fail to raise standards will be replaced, in some cases by private companies, in these zones.

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