A significant number of headteachers have missed out on substantial pay rises this year because some governors were confused over the introduction of new pay scales and performance management.
Heads got an average rise of 6 per cent - equivalent to around pound;2,531 for a head on point 12 of the old pay scale and more than pound;4,000 for a secondary head on around pound;70,000. Deputies did even better, with an 8 per cent increase.
Just under half of heads were given an extra pay point by their governing bodies for improved performance, on top of the 3.3 per cent annual pay award. But headteacher unions said many had missed out because governing bodies were not up to speed on implementing the reforms. Some did not apply for extra money from the Department for Education and Employment to fund the new salary arrangements.
The figures, from the School Teachers' Review Body survey, were revealed as the Government promised senior nurses a rise of more than 5 per cent next year.
The STRB reports: "Some schools have had difficulties in understanding some of the details of the new structure and in particular the funding available to schools."
John Dunford, general secretary of the Secondary Heads Association, said experienced classroom teachers going through the threshold were getting a 10 per cent rise, closing the gap between them and senior management.
"Heads and deputies have been complaining strongly to us about the narrowing of this differential," he said, also warning that some heads - maybe as many as a third - were missing out on performance-related increments because their governig bodies failed to set performance targets last year.
The STRB suggests that between a quarter and a half of schools had not agreed a pay deal for their heads and deputies, as of this October. Its survey suggests some schools had difficulties understanding the new leadership structure, and particularly the funding available from Government for improved performance and transfer to the new scales. Other governing bodies were waiting to meet consultants appointed to advise them and heads on pay and performance issues.
The vast majority (91 per cent) of those heads who had been set performance targets said they were "clear and unambiguous", and most said they were helpful.
However, heads of the smallest schools, those with around 140 pupils or under, were much less likely to get an extra increment, and therefore gained only a 3 per cent pay increase. Their average salary stood at pound;33,054 this year.
Some 500 primary and 50 secondary heads found that they had inexplicably dropped a point or more on the pay scale compared to 1999. Their salaries were not reduced, but they missed out on the general pay rise.
Around 478 heads, mostly in the smallest primaries, were being paid below the minimum of the pay band for their school group.
David Hart, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said: "The survey proves heads of small schools miss out when it comes to governing bodies implementing national pay guidelines."
The review body is due to deliver its report and recommendations on next year's pay in the new year.
Teachers' pay debate,11