Heads already paid for pay pain

14th April 2000 at 01:00
SO headteachers are getting in a state over threshold pay and

performance review as they see years of staff relationships and morale being destroyed, as well as being asked to do the impossible. Who is responsible for the improvement of a primary pupil - this year's or previous years' teachers?

However, it must be remembered that heads got two substantial pay rises last year to push this through, more than the class-teacher. Can you wonder why teachers and trade unions get miffed when they see an attempt to dump this opprobrium on others?

Then there is the attempt to confuse the pound;2,000 threshold payment with performance management, which starts in September. No wonder heads want to delay it beyond July 31.

For this year alone, they are not linked, but will be for subsequent applicants. That is why we are encouraging members to take their money now. It will never be as easy again.

Teachers will be reminded it is for "sustained classroom performance", nothing else. Watch in the application forms for all sorts of other conditions. All that heads will be asked to do this year is to process the form.

School A may wish to process all those who qualify to show what an excellent school it is, but school B may decide to operate some sort of control and indicate that half or more of the staff are "not up to standard".

If the Gvernment's 90 per cent target is not reached then watch for the headlines next year: "Heads say 60 per cent of teachers are poor".

Apart from the bureaucracy and workload issues, serious as they are, what of the differentials of deputies and senior teachers when the five-point scale is progressed, or is the trumpeted pound;30,000 an illusion?

The future financing of the framework is an issue. Without paid cover, performance management will go the same way as appraisal.

We must be one of the most inspectedmonitored of all workforces. Added to ever-increasing indiscipline as exclusions are made difficult, the initiative per week, more work at home, no wonder the Government is having to bribe students to enter teaching.

It will all end in tears. It looks as though the heads are the first to start crying.

What comes out of the unions' Easter conferences will be interesting. It's not the union leaders that are getting restive. Just talk to the rank and file, who have been acquiescent for the past 15 years. If the pound;2,000 is not forthcoming because of heads' "gatekeeping" then teachers of all unions will consider this "bribe" not worth embracing.

Bill Bradbury


St Helens and Newton Association

National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers

2 Clifton Road



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