High-flyers' surprise bonus

11th February 2000 at 00:00
The pay deal could benefit some teachers more than others, reports Nicolas Barnard.

HIGH-FLYING teachers who win early promotion look set to receive an unexpected bonus - with some benefitting by more than pound;2,000.

An anomaly in last week's pay settlement means that teachers promoted after fewer than seven years in the job will get an extra pay rise when they move onto the new scales to be introduced in September.

More than 25,000 teachers are likely to be affected, including 10,000 in primary schools and 15,000 in secondaries.

The quirk arises because the new system of management points will be worth more to these teachers than the responsibility points they now hold.

But, despite their seniority, they will not be eligible to cross the performance threshold and earn excellence points until they have reached the top of the main pay scale - normally after seven years.

Meanwhile, senior teachers are set to become the new recruitment battleground for the unions, with both heads' associations likely to compete for their subscriptions.

The Secondary Heads' Association has already recruited more than 500 senior teachers since opening up its ranks 18 months ago. Now, with "school leaders" joining the same pay scale as heads and deputies, the National Association of Head Teachers looks set to follow suit.

NAHT members voted narrowly for the move in principle last year. The change will be discussed at its annual conference in spring.

The bonuses for young hih-flyers are a result of the new pay structure. Points for experience and responsibility are currently merged into one scale. From September, there will be separate allowances for each.

The biggest winners will be teachers who have gained four responsibility points, typically as head of a large secondary school department, but are still four years away from the threshold - there are around 175 of them in England.

They will see their salaries rise by pound;2,020 - bigger than the bonus their more experienced colleagues will get for crossing the threshold.

A teacher who is three years off the threshold but already has three management points - for example, as a head of mediumsized department - will gain pound;1,239. A colleague in the same job but with two years' more experience will get pound;717.

People given responsibilities in their first year - and there are several hundred of them - gain pound;610.

All could also benefit from the new opportunity to jump two years' increments on the pay scale for excellent performance.

Management points will be alloted by governors, who could decide to cut them back to keep salaries level. But John Dunford, general secretary of SHA, said teachers should get the full amount.

"Secondary schools have a management structure, and the size of allowances relate to the size of the job," he said. "You can't change the head of history from three points to two without having an impact on the head of geography or maths."

Briefing, 24-25

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