Across-the-board contentment

4th May 2001 at 01:00
Headteacher Rhonda Murthar admits she was worried her school's achievement award could prove divisive.

But a policy which sees all 70-odd staff at Stewards school, Harlow, Essex, receiving a minimum of pound;100, and pound;300 if they are full-time, seems to have gone down well.

Everyone is getting the same, from canteen staff to the headteacher, with no differentiation according to rank or performance. The only ones missing out are staff who joined or left the 642-pupil secondary this year (the scheme covers 199900).

"My initial thoughts were that it could be seen as something divisive, but it didn't turn out to be a problem at all - everyone agreed this was how they wanted to see the scheme opeated," she said.

"For some staff, like mid-day assistants and those in the canteen, who work few hours, the award worked out to a small amount. It was felt we wanted to reward them and that they were very much part of our success, so we set the minimum of pound;100."

She discussed her proposals with teachers and non-teaching governors, as well as her senior management team, before putting the plan before governors.

Her chair of governors, Gordon Hewlett, who is also vice-chairman of the National Governors' Council, said: "There are all sorts of weird and wonderful schemes being put forward that seem to be a bit off the wall, whereas what is needed is a straightforward allocation."

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