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There are big changes afoot in the way teachers receive allowances for their additional responsibilities. Of course, most of you won't be directly affected yet, but you may hear other teachers talking about these changes.

A working group of teachers' unions, government and local education authority representatives have spent the first part of this year discussing a replacement for the existing framework of five management allowances.

They have sent their proposals to the pay review body, which decides how teachers are paid.

Two new teaching and learning responsibility (TLR) payments would replace the existing five management allowance (MA) points. These would be paid only to teachers who are accountable for a significant, specified responsibility focused on teaching and learning that is extra to the requirements expected of a classroom teacher.

The group outlined the factors that should apply before a TLR payment could be made. These include the following:

1. The impact of educational progress beyond the teacher's assigned pupils.

2. Leading, developing and enhancing the teaching practice of others.

3. Having accountability for leading, managing and developing a subject or curriculum area or pupil development across the curriculum.

4. Having line management responsibility for a significant number of other people.

If accepted, the proposals would require each school to devise and publish a pay policy. TLR payments would not be transferrable between schools and could be withdrawn if, say, responsibilities were restructured or circumstances changed in the future.

Allowance holders will be watching carefully to see how they may be affected when the changes are announced, probably in January. Teachers close to retirement might decide to quit prematurely to safeguard their pensions if they feel that the transitional arrangements do not protect them fully. This could open up new opportunities for promotion in the coming years. That may be good news for those at the start of their careers.

John Howson

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