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Middle managers pay under review

This term, schools are required to review their staffing structures. For most of you, this is nothing to be really concerned about. As you probably are aware, the final stage of the Workload Agreement came into force in September: the culmination of three year's of changes to teachers' contract and conditions of employment.

Now, the Government is changing how middle managers in schools are to be paid. From January, the present structure of management allowances, with the five separate levels, are being replaced by just two grades of teaching and learning responsibility payments, or TLRs for short. As a part of the process of change, schools are being required to review their whole staffing structures.

If you are a member of a teacher association then your local representative will probably have briefed you on what is happening in your school. There may well have been a consultation exercise, especially in the larger schools. In some schools, your head of department, year or section head may be looking a bit glum if it seems that their post might be under threat.

A small number of new teachers have traditionally been awarded management points in the past, perhaps because they were the only specialist in a particular subject: if you are in that position, these changes may directly affect you. In this case, you should take advice, if you have not already done so. The review won't affect any additional points on the main scale you may have been awarded for experience or other reasons.

However, it does seem that the staffing review may be affecting the job market in the early part of this term. Schools seem reluctant to place adverts, except for posts that they really do have to fill, such as heads of large departments and specialists who are leaving at Christmas. It seems that those posts that are being advertised are often the result of a teacher going on maternity leave.

Other posts are either being covered by temporary staff or suspended until the school's staffing review has been completed, so they just aren't being advertised at all. This seems to be particularly affecting primary schools, where standard classroom posts remain scarce. The remainder of this term is usually quiet on the job front and I don't expect anything different this year.

John Howson

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