Have you noticed?;Briefing;Governors;Green Paper

19th March 1999 at 00:00
Towards the end of his life, WC Fields was seen thumbing through the Bible. Asked what he was doing, he replied: "Looking for loopholes". I went through the technical consultation paper on teachers' pay looking for pitfalls. I know in theory the horrendous responsibility of appraising staff and determining salaries falls on the headteacher, but in practice I expected to find plenty of opportunities for governors to take the blame. This is not paranoia, this is bitter experience.

Sure enough, governors are to be responsible for approving the head's recommendation for teachers to bypass appraisal and go straight to the new management pay spine - clearly a licence for institutionalised cronyism.

If our school is unfortunate enough to receive a performance bonus, governors must decide whether to share out the spoils among all staff or give it to those who have contributed most to our exam success. Won't that be fun?

We keep our responsibility for headteachers' pay, with a little help from our brand-new appraisal expert. We are also responsible for the budget; and apparently the Office for Standards in Education will be commenting on how we use our "discretion" to determine the pay consequences of appraisal and threshold assessments. In other words, we cannot give away money we don't have.

Quite.

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