For the few, not the many?

6th October 2000 at 01:00
Those hoping for a decent pay rise for every teacher look set to be disappointed, reports Amanda Kelly.

ONLY an elite of teachers can look forward to significant wage increases once the new threshold pay structure is in place, a new Government report suggests.

The rest, along with other

public-sector workers, should expect no more than a 2.5 per cent pay rise next year in line with current low inflatio levels.

In its annual submission to the School Teachers' Review Body, the Department for Education and Employment portrays a profession that will increasingly divided into hierarchies of ability and type of work.

The department's report, published last week, proposes several routes to bigger pay rises: becoming an advanced skills teacher, passing the performance "threshold", and joining the "fast-track" scheme. It also suggests bonuses to attract staff to challenging or failing schools.

The maximum "recruitment and retention" allowance of pound;3,765 is only available in inner London and in failing schools. But the Government believes it should be extended to schools facing challenging circumstances in other parts of the country.

The document confirms that even teachers who cross the new threshold - ultimately giving them the chance to earn up to pound;30,000 a year - will have to wait for two years until they can progress any further up their new, higher pay scale.

To advance up this scale they will have to demonstrate all-round good performance. Controversially this will include pupil progress. Those who reach the top end of this upper pay scale will demonstrate performance "significantly" exceeding threshold standards.

A successful review under the new performance management arrangements would not guarantee a teacher qualifies for the next level, the report stresses.

The report also proposes a new method of awarding special needs allownces.

According to Education Secretary David Blunkett, the current system where teachers receive an allowance for "wholly or mainly" teaching special needs children sits uncomfortably with modern practices that seek to include the children in mainstream classes - bringing many more staff into contact with special needs pupils.

Instead, the allowance should be given, at heads' discretion, to reward a particular contribution to the special needs work of the school, above and beyond what might be expected.

The report also argues that, from April 2001, only those who have crossed the performance threshold should be eligible to become advanced skills teachers.

In order to retain advanced skills status, these teachers should also be required to contribute to the professional development of their colleagues in their own school or elsewhere.

And while these staff are currently required to spend at least 20 per cent of their time on "outreach", work with other schools the DFEE would like to give them the option of raising this figure to 40 per cent.

The introduction of a "fast-track" route for the those teachers with most potential talent is also tackled in the report, with confirmation that no candidate will be accepted on the scheme without having first achieved Qualified Teacher Status. The first fast-track teaching posts will be taken up from April 2002.

The report is to be posted at DFEE PAY PROPOSALS

* Annual pay rise of 2.5 per cent, in line with inflation.

* New bonuses to attract and retain teachers working in the most challenging schools.

* Special needs allowances awarded only to those most involved in SEN teaching.

* Advanced skills teacher status available only to those who have first crossed the threshold.

* The first "fast-track" teachers to begin work from April 2002

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