Heads rank lower in pay league

14th February 1997 at 00:00
Frances Rafferty opens a six-page analysis of the School Teachers' Review Body's recommendations

Fourteen years ago a brigadier and a headteacher were paid the same. Today their pay is 10 per cent adrift with even the best-paid heads being Pounds 5,500 the poorer.

Chris Trinder, chief economist of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accounting, has used this example to show how teachers are falling down the pay league. Whether or nor you can draw a direct comparison between the leaders of men and the leaders of children, the figures tell a story.

Heads and deputies will receive the across-the-board phased rise of 3. 3 per cent. They are also able to negotiate with their governing bodies extra money, and last year more than one in four heads, still in the same post, were given extra pay.

The Government has been keen to introduce a performance element to their pay. From September, governing bodies will have to consider their performance using criteria agreed in advance with their heads and depuites. These may include examination and test results, pupil attendance, financial management and progress in implementing inspection action plans.

The headteacher associations are resisting these moves. They say extra pay is only possible if the budget allows, and prefer to look at the importance of teamwork.

The review body itself is not very happy at the direction the Government is pushing it on this issue. In the report it says such a system depends upon governors' discretion, and the review body is not convinced they are up to the job.

"There was evidence that many governing bodies were unclear about how best to discharge their responsibilities and that their greatest difficulty is with pay, especially when assessing the performance of heads and deputies and determining their pay," it said.

The review says money must be made available centrally - possibly through Grants for Educational Support and Training - to train governors, especially on heads' and deputies' pay.

Last year, the review body recommended that teacher-governors should not be present in governing body committees that determined the head's pay. This was overruled by the Education Secretary. The review body has had another go this year and Gillian Shephard said she would consider it. Consultation on all the proposals ends on March 5.

A recommendation by the review body ensuring that acting heads are paid in line with their new responsibilities and receive the same conditions of service as full-time heads has been agreed. The heads of Pupil Referral Units will also have the same conditions of service as headteachers.

New pay rates in full, page 6

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