Heads want power to axe worst, keep best

10th December 2010 at 00:00
ASCL Cymru backs white paper plans to relax regulations on pay and conditions

Welsh headteachers need more power to get rid of incompetent teachers and freedom to pay successful school staff more, heads' leaders have warned.

The Assembly government should support proposals in the Westminster government's education white paper to relax regulation of teachers' pay and conditions, according to Gareth Jones, general secretary of ASCL Cymru.

Speaking at the union's annual conference in Llandrindod Wells this week, after TES Cymru went to press, Mr Jones was due to argue that Welsh school leaders need more freedom to manage their staff.

"School leaders need more flexibility in the management of the human resources available to them and we urge the minister to support the proposals to relax the more restrictive aspects of school teachers' pay and conditions," he was due to say. "The procedures for tackling individual underperformance need to be revised to ensure a better balance between the needs of the individual and of the school and its students."

Education secretary Michael Gove is due to ask the School Teachers' Review Body, which advises on salaries, to investigate changing the rewards system for teachers. The body's recommendations cover England and Wales.

But his call for more power for headteachers were rejected by classroom unions.

David Evans, secretary of NUT Cymru, disagreed with the calls for more pay flexibility.

"We wouldn't want to see a two-tier system, and schools looking to attract `better' teachers by offering them more money," he said. "The current system of remuneration doesn't need changing."

Mr Jones was also due to say that there was an "urgent need" for properly funded professional development in Wales to create better school leadership teams.

Following Wales's disappointing showing in this week's Pisa global rankings, Mr Jones used his conference speech to call on headteachers to bring the performance of schools in Wales closer to that of its European counterparts.

"That is a gap which is detrimental to the individual student and to our communities in these times of austerity and economic competition," his speech said.

He praised education minister Leighton Andrews for "taking action" to tackle the funding gap between Welsh local authorities, and between England and Wales. Mr Jones also offered support for the review of education administration in Wales, set up to channel more resources from back offices to the front line.

A spokesman for the Assembly government said: "The arrangements for teachers' pay and conditions are not devolved and we will keep in close touch with the Department for Education to ensure that any proposals which apply in both countries takes account of the needs and circumstances of Wales. The other issues are devolved and we are considering our options as part of our implementation of our review of professional standards, performance management and CPD."

MOST WANTED: ASCL MANIFESTO

- A national pay and conditions structure that supports recruitment and retention of effective leaders.

- More effective capability and sickness procedures.

- Fewer tiers of management between the Welsh Assembly Government, local authorities and schools.

- Maximum funding being made available to frontline services linked to more consistent financial reporting.

- A more cost-effective local authority structure focusing on planning school places, special educational needs and school transport.

- More autonomy for school leaders to address local problems.

  • Original headline: Heads want power to axe the worst and keep the best

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