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May day for new pay scales

Teachers can expect to start bidding to cross the salary threshold in the new year, reports Nicolas Barnard

TEACHERS could start applying for a 10 per cent pay rise within six months, as the Government picks up speed with plans for a new salary structure.

Draft guidelines issued yesterday say teachers who want to cross onto a new higher pay scale could start to consider their applications as early as January and lodge forms with their headteachers from late March for a May deadline.

Successful applicants will get an immediate pay rise of up to pound;2,000 plus access to a new scale reaching beyond pound;35,000. And in further guidelines, on the appraisal system which will underpin the new pay structure, the Department for Education and Employment listed examples of the kind of targets teachers could be set. They are lifted from schools which are already running model systems and based - crucially - on pupils' prior performance and the school's circumstances. Ministers hope it will allay fears of crude payment by results.

Details of the new scales were laid out by the DFEE to the School Teachers' Review Body which must now produce recommendations on how it will operate.

Ministers recommend that classroom teachers who cross the threshold move onto a scale taking them up to pound;30,000 in about five pound;1,000 increments. Those with greater responsibilities could earn an extra four or five points taking them beyond pound;35,000.

But progression up the scale would be neither quick nor automatic. Schools' minister Estelle Morris said she would expect a "period of consolidation" after each jump up the new spine.

The review body will produce its recommendations - including next year's pay settlement - in March 2000. Education and Employment Secretary David Blunkett has urged the board not to phase the 200001 rise.

The draft guidelines show that ministers are pressing ahead with the new appraisal and salary structures, despite differences with unions. They want both in place by next September.

Ministers argue that they are putting in place a light-touch non-bureaucratic system and a simple framework for setting teachers' targets. The guidelines include examples set by schools already running model schemes.

Schools will determine their own system, but the DFEE suggests a simple form with four sections: previous objectives; development and training to support those objectives; notes from discussions during the past year; and overall assessment of performance.

Targets or "objectives" would be agreed between teachers and their team leaders and "would be expected to cover pupil progress and professional development".

Examples of targets include:

For a Year 4 teacher, with 50 per cent of girls and 30 per cent of boys, failing to meet the literacy standard: "Substantially increase" these figures and reduce the gender gap.

For a head of maths who faces fewer than expected gaining top grades at GCSE: increase the proportion of A and A* grades over two years from 8 to 15 per cent.

For a secondary head facing a sharp rise in truancy: raise attendance from 85 to 90 per cent within a year.

Pay threshold assessments will be made by heads, but overseen by external assessors under contract to the DFEE, who will review each school's system, and select a number of applicants for closer scrutiny.

Teachers should know the result by the end of the year, with rises backdated to September 2000.

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