Comparison confuses the pay issue

15th October 2004 at 01:00
I think it is about time to set the record straight about the comparisons that keep being made between teachers' pay and conditions and those for teaching assistants.

First, this "term times only" business: teachers are paid for 195 days of work, for those on contracts this is spread evenly across 12 monthly payments. If a teacher works on supply then their pay rate is 1195 of the annual pay.

Therefore by this measure teachers do not get holiday pay either! Of course this is a mis-interpretation because the rate of pay includes an allowance for leave - just as it does for teaching assistants.

Such staff are paid according to green book conditions of service and as such they receive a pro-rata allowance for holiday pay.

There is also the complaint of having unpaid breaks - well this may or may not be fair, but it is certainly also the case for teachers. The teachers'

contract says that heads can direct them for 1,265 hours per year.

Calculations of these 1,265 hours do not generally include breaks - so teachers do not get paid breaks either.

What about this business of hours - well it is the case that most TAs are paid for a fixed amount of hours, but isn't this also the case for teachers? Teachers are paid for 32.5 hours per week (139 of 1,265 hours); is it the case that the work required fits into these 1,265 hours?

Of course the substance of the case really is that teaching assistants'

rates of pay are poor. If this is the case then it is important to make the argument on that basis, not by bringing in all sorts of spurious arguments about the relative feather-bedding of teachers with their conditions of service in comparison to TAs.

Adrian Percival Headteacher Matthew Arnold school Arnolds Way Oxford

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