Bright sparks and scientists get rises

9th February 2007 at 00:00
Teachers' unions this week welcomed a new deal for part-timers but attacked plans for junior and mid-range teachers to have to prove their worth before progressing up the pay scale. Jonathan Milne and Irena Barker report.

Performance pay for all

The government fought a bloody battle through the courts with the NUT, while other unions protested, before it was able to bring in performance pay for senior teachers in 2000.

Now, the School Teachers' Review Body recommends, all teachers should pass muster at performance reviews before progressing up the pay scale.

Alan Johnson, education secretary, quickly issued a response to the review body, "warmly welcoming" the formal link between performance management reviews and pay progression. He agreed to amend the teachers' pay and conditions document so unqualified and newly-qualified teachers must pass performance reviews.

But, he said, "I am not proposing any change in the current pay progression arrangements."

AskedJif Mr Johnson was extending the performance regime to the bulk of teachers on the main pay scale, the Department for Education and Skills said: "The Secretary of State has welcomed the STRB's recommendations on the links betweenJperformance managementJand pay and accepted them."

The effect is expected to be thatJchanges to the pay document will enable headteachers to useJperformance reviews to determineJwhether teachers are performing satisfactorilyJ- but they will not be forced to do so if they, or their staff, object.

The threshold for unsatisfactory performance will remain low - Janything that prompts formal disciplinary action - so most teachers will still progress up the pay scale.

Mr Johnson rejected theJrecommendation that schools should detail the link between performance and salary in their pay policy, a move that will please headteachersJburdenedJby paperwork.

Excellent Teachers

The Education Secretary also slapped down the review body's proposals to allow schools to take into account local criteria like subject shortages in determining pay for top-paid teachers in the excellent teacher scheme.

Deterred by three years' of government and review body haggling, only a handful of teachers have joined the scheme.

Teachers' responsibilities

The statement of teachers' duties in the pay and conditions document is "outdated, prescriptive and inhibits change", according to the review body.

It will be replaced with a clear statement of teachers' contractual responsibilities, requiring them to show in their performance reviews that they are delivering the best possible outcomes for all pupils.

Science and maths

Alan Johnson agreed to cash incentives for teachers to retrain as specialists in shortage subjects such as physics, chemistry and maths. The review body said payments could be made within the existing framework for pound;5,000 golden hellos.

Professor John Holman, director of science and technology education at the DfES, welcomed the incentives as an immediate fix to an urgent problem: "We need measures that will work quickly."

But the payments are against the advice of the Training and Development Agency and unions who said teachers were not motivated by pay so much as by their passion for their subjects.

Part-time pay

Mr Johnson agreed to overhaul part-time teachers' pay to ensure that they are paid, like their fulltime colleagues, for the hours they spend preparing lessons and assessing work, as well as for their classroom hours.

The underpayment of part-timers was criticised by the European Court of Justice as discriminating against women.

Boosting part-timers' pay is expected to cost schools pound;46million per year.

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