Blunkett rebuffs unions on pay;Pay Award 99

5th February 1999 at 00:00
Frances Rafferty opens The TES's three-page report on this year's settlement - and what the future holds

Education Secretary David Blunkett has called union opposition to his reforms of teachers' pay "wrong and surprising".

In today's TES he said teachers crossing the threshold - to a higher performance-related pay scale - would be judged on their pupils' achievements and exam results, their subject and specialist knowledge and effective planning of lessons.

And, responding to Doug McAvoy, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, he said: "One union leader said this week that teachers couldn't be expected to control the achievements of children. Well, of course, but most parents and teachers would rightly say that teachers should, and can, make a big difference."

This year's pay award of 3.5 per cent for classroom teachers is above inflation and, for the first time since 1995, will be paid in full. However, the decision to increase pay for heads in small schools was described as divisive by classroom and secondary teachers. David Hart, general secretary of the National Association of Headteachers - the union that represents most primary heads - called it a con trick.

He said: "We welcome the long overdue recognition of the size of the head's job, but most heads won't receive the increase until September and a large number will get significantly lower than the 6.5 per cent average."

He said the number of heads who will receive 9.5 per cent is just over 2,000. The headteacher unions have received more than 250 calls in one day from deputies angry that their pay has not been reviewed.

John Dunford, general secretary of the Secondary Heads Association, has written to Mr Blunkett. And the NAHT said it had warned the review body against deferring deputies' pay.

Most local authorities have budgeted for a 3 per cent pay rise and the teachers' employers said the deal would mean councils having to find an extra pound;70 million.

The teachers' pay review body said it was concerned that the increases in education spending would not reach schools. This year, all but 20 LEAs in England had increased school budgets - but only a third passed on the full increase recommended by the Government. This was despite Mr Blunkett writing to all councils asking them to ensure that the extra money went to schools.

The review body said more money was going directly to schools through the Government's Standards Fund. However, this depended on councils matching the amount - leading to uneven funding with the most needy areas not always benefiting.

Under the new arrangements, councils with large numbers of small primaries, for example Devon and Cumbria, will be hardest hit by the increases for heads, which could lead to the amalgamation of infant and junior schools.

The review body does not accept there is a crisis in recruitment, but the quality of staff, especially in shortage subjects, does concern it.

* The Government has also published the technical details of how it intends to implement the Green Paper. See opposite.

Leader, 16; David Hart, 17; Document of the Week, 21


* 3.5 per cent rise for teachers, heads, deputies and advanced skills teachers from April. London allowances also to rise by 3.5 per cent from April.

* additional 3 per cent rise on average for primary heads from September with 6 per cent for those in charge of schools with fewer than 100 pupils * additional 1.5 rise on average for secondary heads from September with 3 per cent for heads with fewer than 400 pupils.

* failing schools will be allowed to award up to three recruitment and retention points to teachers.

* recruitment and retention points no longer have to be reviewed biennially.

* School Teachers' Pay and Conditions Document to include EU Working Time Regulations (maximum of 48-hour week).

* heads and advanced skills teachers to oversee induction of newly-qualified teachers.

* teachers to be eligible for experience points for work in an education action zone forum.

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