Heads who triumph in the pay stakes

11th February 2000 at 00:00
Senior staff appear the immediate winners in the wage round, especially those set to get an instant pound;2,000 rise. Nicolas Barnard reports

NOW THE dust has settled, teachers can start to see what the new pay structure will mean to them. And the immediate winners look to be heads, deputies and senior teachers.

Last week's report by the School Teachers' Review Body, accepted with only minor modifications by Education Secretary David Blunkett, could mean an immediate pay rise of pound;2,000 for teachers who play a major role in running their schools.

What's more, they will not have to jump through the same hoops as their junior colleagues to get it.

The way that the new scales are structured is bound to put pressure on heads' salaries and lead to pay rises to ensure differentials are maintained.

No wonder the headteachers' associations are broadly satisfied with the report, which also repeatedly stressed the crucial role that heads would play in implementing the pay reforms on such a tight timetable.

As David Hart, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said: "This Government is now absolutely dependent on the headteachers getting this sorted out in the space of the next year."

Teachers who "work closely with the head on substantial strategic issues across the school" will be put on the new leadership pay scale, joining the head and deputy, in a move which at last reflects the increased responsibilities which resulted from local management of schools.

Heads' associations had lobbied for that recognition and are likely now to start recruiting teachers on the leadership spine.

Senior teachers and deputy heads will each be given a five-point range on the performance-linked leadership scale, giving them scope over time to increase their pay by between pound;4,000 and pound;5,000. Heads are already on a similar scale - although the report complains not enough use is yet made of them to reward good performance.

It will be up to governors to decide where on the leadership scale they start; but the lowest point must still be higher than the salary of classroom teachers, and the top of the range for the highest paid - usually the deputy - must be lower than the bottom of the range for the head.

The pound;2,000 pay rise that many classroom teachers will get for crossing the threshold automatically increases the starting point for school leaders by the same amount, and the Government will give schools a pound;2,000 one-off grant for everybody placed on the leadership scale in 200001.

John Dunford, general secretary of the Secondary Heads' Association, said: "In principle, the work f senior management teams will be much better reflected."

The rules also mean an automatic gap of five points (at least pound;4,000) between deputies and heads - although the gap may close if deputies win performance bonuses and heads do not. The cap on headteachers' pay has been lifted by around pound;2,000 as a result to preserve differentials.

Mr Hart said the changes would have "very significant implications on the salary levels, particularly in smaller schools".

The big question for teachers is: where do I fit in all this?

The Department for Education and Employment must now consult on how teachers will move over to the new pay scales in September.

However, the principle is that teachers on points one to nine on the old scale will move over to points one to nine on the new.

They will continue to move up the scale by a point each year unless in exceptional circumstances a point is witheld. But from next year, they will also have a chance to jump two points as a reward for exceptional performance.

The threshold is set at the current pay ceiling, point nine. Above that a whole new scale is introduced - the "upper pay range" - with up to five points awarded for performance.

Teachers must be assessed to cross the threshold, which will put them at the lowest point on this range and give them a rise of pound;2,001.

The Government says further points will not normally be awarded each year. Indeed it has said no teacher will start to move up this scale until 2002.

Teachers with responsibility points will see them converted into a separate scale of management points, which can be awarded for strictly defined duties, regardless of whether the teacher has crossed the threshold.

There are four management points, equating to the value of the first four responsibility points on the old scale.

Unless there has been a change in circumstances, the review body says, no teacher should lose out.

The assumption is that most teachers with more than four responsibility points will be so senior they will find themselves on the new leadership scale, which covers heads, deputies and senior teachers with strategic management responsibilities across the whole school.

But the Secondary Heads Association estimates that perhaps 1,000 or more teachers, mainly heads of department in large secondaries, have five points but do not fit that category. Their points will be protected, as will any half-points that teachers have (half-points are being abolished). Senior staff appear the immediate winners in the wage round, especially those set to get an instant pound;2,000 rise. Nicolas Barnard reports

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