The School Teachers' Review Body's own summary of its ninth report on pay and conditions to the Government which it describes as being 'one of the most important for many years'
THIS YEAR'S review has been identified as one of the most important for many years because of the great potential to improve the recruitment, motivation and morale of teachers; to raise educational standards; and to enhance the status of the teaching profession.
In addition to our normal remit to recommend the size of any general increase which should be applied to teachers' pay and allowances, we examine the Government's far-reaching Green Paper proposals for reforming the pay structure and make recommendations on what we see as the way forward.
This summary is necessarily brief, and we hope that our full report will be widely read. Schools can obtain printed copies from the Department for Education and Employment.
It is also available on the DFEE website (www.dfee.gov.ukteachingreforms).
WE FIRST review those issues which always form the background to our consideration of teachers' pay and conditions of employment in England and Wales.
The level of funding has risen significantly but not all of the nationally provided increases reach schools and the complexity of the funding system continues to be a major concern.
We welcome the review of the funding system being conducted by the Government and urge that this long-awaited opportunity is taken to introduce simpler and more transparent national arrangements.
The numbers of teachers and support staff have increased but still more will be needed.
Workload is a subject which is raised in schools everywhere; and awareness of the pressures on schools has almost certainly had an adverse effect on recruitment to the profession.
The extensive programme of educational initiatives has, probably inevitably, led to additional paperwork and meetings.
Steps have been taken to ease some of these pressures but further progress is needed. We do not accept that new detailed restrictions on hours and particular aspects of work are appropriate but we are planning a comprehensive review in the coming year of the time worked and the factors involved.
Recruitment into initial teacher training is on target for primary schools; but for secondary schools there are continuing shortfalls especially for certain subjects.
We continue to conclude that good quality graduates are not entering teaching in sufficient numbers. These shortfalls are still not fully reflected in the level of unfilled vacancies reported by schools.
We plan studies in the coming year to understand more clearly the particular recruitment and retention problems schools face in London and elsewhere and the ways they tackle them.
These and related matters provide the background of underlying issues which must be addressed if the Green Paper proposals are to be successful.
GREEN PAPER PROPOSALS
Our report considers the general principles of the Green Paper proposals.
We note a number of developments and clarifications of specific aspects which have come out of the period of extensive consultation by the Government, especially the assurance that there will be no quota on the number of classroom teachers who might cross the proposed performance threshold which will be fully funded. We believe that this and other assurances address many of the earlier reservations on the part of a large number of teachers and heads.
We consider the central Green Paper proposal that, after about seven years in the profession, teachers should be considered for progression across a performance threshold and potentially beyond it.
This will be based on what individual teachers bring to the job; how they deploy their skills; and the results which they achieve in terms of pupil progress taking account of where those pupils start from.
The whole process will be set within a structure of performance management and continuing professional development for teachers. Detailed performance standards are still being finalised but we anticipate that a satisfactory basis will emerge.
Accordingly, we support the general thrust of the Green Paper proposals and believe they will provide a good basis for the development and reward of teachers in the future.
We also believe that a greater number of able young graduates should be attracted by the opportunities which they provide.
We do, however, have concerns about the pressures of the introductory phase when around a quarter of a million teachers will be eligible for threshold assessment, in most cases without the benefit of a background of performance management.
Effective training and continuing support for heads, line managers and chairs of governors will be vitally important.
We also urge that the overall programme of change in schools allows due priority to be given to the crucially important introduction of the performance management and threshold procedures.
Much also needs to be done to explain the Green Paper proposals for teachers and to dispel misconceptions.
How this initial phase is handled will set the tone for the longer term.
PROPOSALS ON PAY
For classroom teachers
a new pay spine of nine salary points to operate on a basis similar to the existing arrangements for rewarding qualifications and experience, but with new scope for the award of double increments for exceptional performance;
a new five-point upper pay range for teachers successfully applying to cross a performance threshold, giving them an immediate salary increase of pound;2,000 and scope for further increases for substantial and sustained performance;
a new range of four management allowances for teachers who undertake clearly defined and significant management tasks additional to their normal duties as classroom teachers;
a new range of three recruitment and retention allowances; and two new levels of allowance for special-needs teaching with the new structure to replace the existing system with effect from September 1, 2000 on the basis of assimilation arrangements to be drawn up by the Department for Education and Employment in consultation with interested parties.
Having determined the pay of the head under the new arrangements introduced last year for the heads of mainstream schools, and under the new arrangements recommended in this report for the heads of special schools, governing bodies should determine an appropriate five-point individual salary range for each deputy and any other leadership-group members on a new leadership pay spine.
The ranges should be placed between the individual range adopted for the head and the salary level of teachers immediately below the leadership group.
Subsequent movement within the individual salary range should reflect performance as for heads.
to help facilitate the determination of appropriate salary relationships, two additional spine points should be added at the top of the salary bands for heads for each of the eight school-size groups. This will enable schools to deal with any problems of compression which may arise from the enhanced salary levels of future entrants from classroom-teacher posts to the leadership group;
in order for such scope to be used as necessary, the existing rule which restricts the circumstances under which the decision on a head's individual school range can be reopened should be waived temporarily;
the DFEE should consult interested parties about an appropriate description of professional duties for members of the leadership group who would formerly have been treated as classroom teachers. This should reflect their substantial strategic management responsibilities for the leadership of the school. Such teachers should no longer be subject to the working time limits which apply to classroom teachers.
an increase of 3.3 per cent with effect from April 1, 2000 in the values of the existing pay spines for classroom teachers, advanced skills teachers, heads and deputies, and in the rates of the main London-area allowances;
values for the new pay spine and upper pay range for classroom teachers and the separate allowances for management tasks, recruitment and retention, and special-needs teaching applicable from September 1, 2000; and values for a new leadership group pay spine for heads, deputies and any other teachers covered by these pay arrangements with effect from September 1, 2000.
THE GREEN Paper proposals for classroom teachers will offer, within the context of a performance-management framework and continued professional development, significantly improved salary prospects for the majority who will be expected to cross the performance threshold with the opportunity of achieving further progress. We believe that the new procedures, as now developed and clarified, and the performance criteria now nearing finalisation will be sensitive to the complex circumstances within which teachers contribute to the development of their pupils.
In addition to the leadership group changes described, we believe it a matter of urgency that full use is made of the scope for performance-related salary progression within individual salary ranges for heads, deputies and other leadership-group members.
This will be particularly important in recognising their contribution to the Green Paper changes. We shall review the implications of all the pay changes taking place for the leadership group in our next report.
As the Green Paper changes are introduced there will be a crucial need for the DFEE to monitor and evaluate their impact and, at an early stage, identify where further support or adjustments may be needed. As pay systems give more scope for local interpretation, so their effect needs to be systematically assessed. The results of monitoring and evaluation will be an important input to our future reviews.
The discretionary elements in the new pay structure will put new pressures on both levels of funding and the funding system. In the past, funding constraints have been proffered as a reason for not using scope to reward performance - the need to avoid this in the future is widely agreed.
We believe that the management task of introducing the new pay structure and implementing the new performance-management system is very considerable and should not be underestimated.
However, given the commitment of heads and other school leaders, we are confident that the new pay structures, carefully explained and sensitively introduced, have much to offer teachers and will therefore contribute in a major way to the general effectiveness of the educational system. If they can be accompanied by some containment of workloads; if the improved pupil results now being achieved are sustained and start to be reflected in the image of teaching in the media; then the next few years should see a significant increase in the stature and attractiveness of the teaching profession.
From April 2000: 3.3 per cent general pay rise
From September 2000:
* A nine-point basic pay spine for qualified teachers stretching from pound;15,141 to pound;23,958.
* Immediate pay rise of pound;2,001 for crossing the performance threshold
* A five-point upper pay range for teachers passing the performance "threshold" from pound;25,959 to pound;30,018.
* Four management points worth up to pound;7,092; two special needs teaching points up to pound;3,000; and three points for discretionary use worth up to pound;2,703.
* Lowest paid unqualified teacher to be paid pound;12,012. Highest paid Advanced skills teacher on pound;42,981.
* Members of a new "leadership group" to be given a five point individual pay range positioned between the salary of their school's head and that of classroom teachers.
* Lowest point on "leadership group" spine will be pound;28,446
* Heads on same "leadership group" spine. Pay ranging between pound;32,184 and pound;75,972.