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Heads delay pay to ensure justice

BILL Bradbury's letter is mistaken in its assertions about the reasons for headteachers looking for a delay in the timing for threshold application assessments (TES, April 14).

The request from many National Association of Head Teachers' members for an extension or delay was to ensure that we do our staffs proper justice in our recommendations.

If he were to check the forms to be completed by teachers who wish to apply to cross the threshold, he would realise that they need to cite evidence about a variety of their achievements and that these include reference to pupil progress.

It is likely that most heads will want to be able to justify the majority of eligible teachers going through the threshold. How that can be seen as damaging staff relationships and morale is difficult to understand.

What heads must do is indicate to the satisfaction of an external assessorthat we have applied the standards effectively, so that our teacher-colleagues can be sure that justice has been done on this occasion.

To imply to future threshold applicants that those who apply this year will have had it easy, is to deny a proper sense of achievement to the first timers.

Mr Bradbury does need to check his facts about heads receiving substantial pay rises last year. We received the same 3.5 per cent as all teachers and then, for most of us, a small percentage above that which was in reality nothing like the amounts trumpeted at the time.

I agree that there are matters which will have to be carefully handled and watched, and we should watch them together in openness, not with suspicion or accusation.

D J Fallows

Headteacher and NAHT national council member

Portland primary school

Laird Street

Birkenhead, Merseyside

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