Fears of losing on pay points

24th September 2004 at 01:00
Heads in Wales are concerned that the Assembly government has missed the chance to influence proposals on new "teaching and learning responsibility" salary points for teachers.

The points would replace management allowances under proposals expected to be submitted to the School Teachers' Review Body next week, in joint advice from unions and ministers.

The current system of up to five management allowances, worth from pound;1,674 up to pound;10,572, was abolished in April. TES Cymru understands that the rewards and incentives group, a working party of unions and employers, is likely to recommend their replacement by just two responsibility points. Within each point, though, there could be a range of payments.

But heads in Wales are concerned that the group's advice could have a different effect in Wales, depending on what financial value is attached to the new points. For example, smaller schools could struggle to pay heads of department if the new points are worth more than their current allowances.

Heads also fear Assembly officials have missed the chance to get up-to-date on the proposals by not attending meetings of the advisory group. One head said: "We are going to get a solution for England that doesn't work for Wales."

Responsibility for teachers' pay is not devolved to Wales, although performance management is. But an Assembly government spokeswoman said teachers were represented by their unions on the advisory group, and added:

"The Assembly government is not a formal member of the group. "However, we see papers and have the opportunity to attend meetings if needed."

Existing management allowances were frozen in April and will not be increased in line with inflation. Teachers taking on responsibilities since April can only get management points for up to one year at a time. The intention is that savings from reform of management allowances will help fund pay increases for experienced staff moving to point 3 on the upper pay spine.

Ministers have also said the demand for management allowances should decrease as the administrative jobs for which they were often offered - such as exams officer - are increasingly removed from teachers, as part of the workforce agreement.

The proposed new allowances would only be paid to those with substantial responsibilities for leading teaching and learning.

It could take up to three years to phase in the new allowances, to ensure schools have time to adapt their management structures.

Letters to TES Cymru should be sent to karen.thornton@tes.co.uk

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