McCrone's millions

26th May 2000 at 01:00
Inquiry backs average pay rises of 15 per cent in return for shorter holidays and more flexible working.

THE recommendations of Professor Gavin McCrone's inquiry into pay, conditions and structures to be published next Wednesday will propose that teachers give up five days' holiday for professional development. It will also suggest they work a 35-hour week, with 30 hours spent on teaching duties in return for pay increases averaging around 15 per cent in a pound;200 million modernisation package.

Rises are likely to be phased in over at least two years, with most classroom teachers receiving more than pound;3,000 and the chance to progress up a shortened pay scale to around pound;29,000 as a special status teacher, which would give them increases of pound;6,000, double the average percentage rise.

Starting salaries will rise to around pound;17,000 and the top of the common scale to around pound;26,000, figures not substantially different from those in the failed Millennium Review and south of the border where all teachers will receive a pound;2,000 pay hike in September subject to meeting basic standards.

Teachers in England are marginally ahead on current pay levels but can now earn up to pound;30,000 by "showing sustained levels of achievement and commitment".

The McCrone committee will recommend a three-grade structure for teachers who remain in the classroom and a parallel structure for management. Every teacher should be capable of moving beyond the basic grade to the special status mark of up to pound;29,000, while "superteachers" might receive up to pound;34,000.

A vastly slimmed down management structure will see the title of principal teacher retained but it will also apply to primary schools and ill not necessarily be related to subjects in secondary. Principal teachers as middle managers could also earn up to pound;34,000 with posts allocated on a personal basis.

Beyond that, depute heads and heads will form a reduced management team in both primary and secondary schools. Deputes' salaries will be up to pound;44,000 and heads' up to pound;61,000, depending on size of rolls.

It is likely Professor McCrone will disappoint many teachers in their mid-50s by rejecting early retirement packages to allow new blood into the profession. He may recommend further investigation and suggest higher pension contributions from teachers to finance an opt-out scheme. Teachers who lose out in any restructuring would only have salaries conserved for three years.

The report will also back a simple remedy for the out-of-hours activities such as supported study and extracurricular activities by recommending straight overtime payments. Continuing professional development will, as expected, receive higher status with support for a national accreditation scheme.

The contentious issue of working time may be resolved by moving officially to a 35-hour week, with five hours controlled by headteachers for whole-school development. Current time allocations for parents' evenings and planned activities will go.

As previously trailed, there will be support for introducing school bursars to relieve the burdens of administration on management and provide more management time in primary schools.

Professor McCrone is not expected to produce any nuggets of wisdom on workload, other than to call for an audit of bureaucracy in schools. He will urge ministers to properly fund new initiatives.

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