Pay cut threat over workload reduction

Ministers are suggesting that teachers forfeit bonuses in return for admin duties being taken off their hands by support staff. Warwick Mansell reports

THE GOVERNMENT wants teachers to take salary cuts as it moves to reduce their workloads.

Ministers risk outrage from the profession after suggesting that many teachers should forfeit management bonuses as administrative duties are taken off their hands.

The recommendations, outlined in government evidence to the School Teachers' Review Body, prompted fury this week from teachers' leaders. The National Association of Head Teachers said they were "ludicrous".

Unions' impatience with the Government over pay was underlined as the National Union of Teachers, possibly supported by the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, prepares to ballot next month on a second one-day strike in London and the South-east this year.

The submission to the STRB says that with support staff due to flood into schools under the Government's "remodelling" agenda, teachers should be freer to teach. As a result, many should stop receiving management allowances, which are currently worth pound;1,593 to pound;10,275 a year. "The Secretary of State is concerned that so long as management allowances continue to be used as at present, the aim of remodelling will be frustrated," said the submission.

A Department for Education and Skills spokeswoman said: "If the role for which the teacher is being paid the management allowance has been taken over by support staff, we would expect the management allowance to be withdrawn."

The submission suggests only a few roles, such as exams secretary, for which pay should be stopped. But its list of 25 roles which should be transferred to support staff includes other obvious candidates such as running work experience, administering cover and giving personnel advice.

David Hart, NAHT general secretary, said: "Recruiting more support staff adds to teachers' management responsibilities."

Doug McAvoy, NUT general secretary, said: "This is complete nonsense. If the Government thinks that by cutting allowances to teachers it can attract more people into the profession, it really is living in cloud cuckoo land."

The submission holds out no prospect of any extra compensating rises for classroom teachers losing duties in schools.

The evidence suggests that the Government wants to use performance-related pay to reward teachers for their work in the classroom.

Ministers said that under this year's shortening of the pay spine, teachers in their first few years in the profession now qualify for a virtually automatic annual pay rise of 8 per cent. They have said that there is a trade-off between cutting workload and increasing pay but this is the first time the connection with management allowances has emerged.

The move, which is unlikely to succeed without backing from heads, is one of a host of measures ministers are employing to keep the pay bill down. They have proposed local pay negotiations, a rejection of big cost-of-living increases in London and making it harder for teachers to progress to the top of the pay scales.

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