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Something for the future

SOMETHING for something will be the key to sixth-form college teachers' pay for the foreseeable future.

The cash for the introduction of performance-related pay will be available from April 1 and only the details of how it will be administered remain to be settled between unions, employers and ministers.

It brings the colleges closer to their roots in the schools sector - although the wise money is on them remaining firmly outside local education authority control.

National pay bargaining, with individual college principals sticking to the increases which are agreed, will create a level of stability and security which will be the envy of lecturers in general FE institutions.

Like their counterparts in schools, sixth-form college teachers will be able to apply for a pound;2,000 threshold increase once they reach the top of a nine-point pay scale.

"We are pretty pleased with what we've negotiated on PRP," says Eamonn O'Kane, deputy general secretary of the National Association of Schoolteachers Union of Women Teachers.

To qualify for the threshold payments, teachers will have to meet a set of professional standards which hae been agreed with lifelong learning minister Malcom Wicks.

There are three standards:

1 Effective teaching and the ability to create a learning environment.

Teachers have to demonstrate that they can organise their lessons in a way which takes account of the range of ability and previous achievement of their students.

They must show they have made the most of available resources, including information technology. Equal opportunities and health and safety issues must be addressed.

2 Professional characteristics

Teachers must demonstrate a willingness to take on non-teaching roles which form part of the overall management of the college. These include updating knowledge of their own subject, taking part in professional development, pastoral care of students and mentoring newly-qualified teachers, and taking part in quality assurance measures.

3 Effective learning (achievement and retention)

Student achievement will be measured, but this will take account of previous achievement levels. Retention rates will also be evaluated, taking into account circumstances which are beyond the teacher's control.

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