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SEN teachers could face sliding pay scale as review body scrutinises sector

Plans to overhaul salary scales for special educational needs (SEN) teachers and school leaders will be drawn up by the body that advises ministers on pay.

Ed Balls, Schools Secretary, gave the School Teachers' Review Body (STRB) its new remit last week, with public-sector pay under intense scrutiny.

The STRB will consider recommendations to scrap the existing fixed allowances for SEN teachers and replace them with a sliding scale based on responsibility and experience.

SEN teachers qualify for one of two extra payments: the minimum allowance is almost pound;2,000, going up to more than pound;3,800 for those with advanced qualifications.

The STRB has previously suggested these could be abolished and a new minimum introduced of around pound;1,000, but it says it will further examine the issue.

The Association of Teachers and Lecturers said the idea was "deplorable" and failed to recognise the challenges of the job. But a lower starting point could result in more teachers being eligible for extra pay.

Mr Balls has already indicated that he is keen to remove existing salary caps for headteachers who run federations of more than one school.

He has instructed the STRB, which will have to report by March 12 next year, to look again at pay for senior leaders.

Teachers are due to receive a 2.3 per cent pay rise from next September, which the Tories have said they will honour if they win the general election. The party has called for a one-year pay freeze for all public- sector workers earning more than pound;18,000 a year in 2011 to help reduce public debt.

Mr Balls has stressed to the STRB that its recommendations need to be "affordable" in the context of public-sector pay deals.

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