MINISTERS have climbed down over proposals to reform headteachers' pay after claims that their plans would prevent schools accepting more pupils with special needs.
The Government had planned to drop the statistical weighting given to children with special needs, part of the way a head's salary is calculated.
But following negotiation with the headteacher associations, the Department for Education and Employment has agreed to keep the arrangement whereby children with statements of special needs in special classes attract three extra points and other pupils with statements may attract an extra three points at the discretion of the governing body.
David Hart, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers wrote to Education Secretary David Blunkett saying: "Any attempt to withdraw what has become a minimal weighting at this stage may well affect the willingness of schools to take on the considerable difficulties associated with the policy of inclusion."
Heads' pay has proved controversial this year. It is almost five months since the teachers' review body's report, which included a new structure for heads' pay. Only now has the department agreed the final structure. As a result, some schools have had to advertise for heads without being able to specify the salary on offer.