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Teachers will be obliged to train

TEACHERS will be compelled to take part in on-the-job training under the Government's latest proposals for the profession, writes Nicolas Barnard.

The School Teachers' Review Body is being asked to look at a new duty to train as it considers next year's pay settlement.

It will also be asked to make recommendations for the next stage of the performance pay plans.

Education Secretary David Blunkett has asked the review body to propose the criteria which teachers must meet to move further up the pay scale once they have crossed the threshold.

Over time, these staff could earn more than pound;30,000 without taking on management responsibilities.

The review body will also consider the criteria for trainee teachers to be put on to the new "fast-track" scheme as well as taking a second look at the pay, role and selection criteria for advanced skills or "super" teachers.

The new training duty demonstrates the Government's determination to get "something for something" from the profession in return for higher pay.

It would be accompanied by a shake-up of professional development to enable teachers to improve and win merit pay rises. Bursaries and sabbaticals have already been proposed by ministers.

But teachers' leaders are likel to want assurances that the Government will deliver enough training opportunities.

Chris Keates, assistant secretary of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, said that compelling teachers to train without giving them time to do so could lead to legal challenges. In particular there could be equal opportunities problems if female staff found it harder to do the training

"You cannot place a duty on teachers to undertake professional development unless you provide access to it during working time," she said.

"It's a profession with a high proportion of women, many of whom are carers and (who) already have difficulty getting promoted. You could end up making it even more difficult for them. We would be fundamentally opposed to that."

Meanwhile, the scale of the ongoing recruitment crisis has forced the Government to consider action on top of measures such as training salaries introduced earlier this year.

The review body will look at recruitment incentives and other proposals to attract and retain teachers.

The body will also report on how long salaries should be protected for those teachers who have half-points on the old scale - abolished under the new structure - and other adjustments.

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