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Review body faces fait accompli

The pay deal announced this week cements the "social partnership" between government, employers, and most of the teaching unions.

It is their third major agreement: first came the workforce deal in 2003, then a year later outline plans for the excellent teachers' scheme and funding for level three of the upper pay scale were submitted to the School Teachers' Review Body.

But once again the National Union of Teachers and UCAC, the Welsh union, are out in the cold.

The partnership and its joint submissions to the review body have, at a stroke, effectively transformed the teacher pay system.

In theory the review body will, as before, consider evidence submitted by all concerned parties and make its own recommendation to the Education Secretary who has the final say.

It remains independent and must still take account of the views of the likes of the NUT which represents a large minority of teachers. But when many of the proposals it receives have already been agreed by most of the main players it would be difficult for the reveiew body to reject them and come up with something radically different.

This week's joint evidence from the partnership proposes the end of existing "safeguarding" arrangements for around 3,450 teachers who have their salary levels protected following previous changes to pay structures.

New arrangements will only protect pay for three years.

The partnership also gives the go-ahead for minimum salaries of pound;40,000 for advanced skills science and maths teachers, as recommended by the Smith inquiry. But the Government will not provide extra cash for this policy which will cost schools an estimated minimum of pound;2.2 million.

Controversial review body proposals to allow schools across the country with recruitment problems to pay London rates have been put on the backburner by the Government and its partner unions, who will re-examine the issue next year.

The NUT submission to the review body, made last month, argued for significant pay hikes for all experienced teachers, comparing the pound;27,123 salary teachers can expect after five years with the graduate average of pound;35,000 after the same period.

It said cutting off the upper pay spine at level three was a mistake and that the proposed excellent teachers' scheme was unfair and demotivating as it would only admit a minority of staff.

The review body is due to report its conclusions by January 21.

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