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Q: What would the pay be for a deputy head post? I have no idea how to read the pay scale chart, so information about what the levels mean would be appreciated.

A: Deputy headteacher posts are paid on the leadership scale. There are four scales covering different parts of the country. Three are in the London area, and a fourth for elsewhere. Each school is linked to a "group" size depending on the number of pupils on roll at a particular date, and their age. Older pupils count for more points. There are eight groups, but at one time there were as many as 14. In areas where schools are challenging and recruitment is difficult, it is possible to pay salaries beyond the appropriate group size in particular cases. This means that the largest schools can go beyond the top of the leadership scale. Without this possibility, there would be no six-figure salaries for heads yet, as the top of the scale is only around pound;96,000. Use the scale as a starting point. Normally, a school sets a five-point "individual school range" for the deputy head post, as opposed to a six-point scale for heads; most deputies will start at the lowest point on this range and hope to progress upwards at regular intervals. If you are already earning more than the bottom of the individual school range, negotiate to start higher up the range.

If you have a question for John Howson, please email susan.young@tes.co.uk

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