Merit rise should not go to all staff

19th September 2003 at 01:00
You say heads are threatening to boycott further merit increases for senior staff unless there is more money from the Government ("Pay rises under threat", TES, September 5). This causes considerable concern about their attitude.

What they are effectively saying to the Department for Education and Skills is that they would like more money so that they can move all their eligible teachers on to point 3 of the upper pay scale. and thus avoid any awkward decisions.

I am a great admirer of the teaching profession, but find it surprising that they think they should not be subjected to any of the rules or pressures other professions and businesses face.

No organisation can either afford to or would want to promote all its staff and it is axiomatic that, as you progress up the career ladder, each rung becomes more difficult to climb.

It is absolutely right that the standard for UPS3 should be more demanding than that for UPS1 and 2 and it is quite wrong to believe that all eligible teachers should move up at the first opportunity.

As the chief executive of the school, heads are paid to take both the easy and the hard decisions.

They have to decide, within the available resources, which teachers merit immediate elevation to UPS3, which should wait for a subsequent year and, hard though it may be, which ones may never be ready.

To try to avoid having to take what may well be awkward decisions is, to my mind, an abrogation of responsibility.

M J Sant General secretary Independent Schools' Bursars Association Unit 11-12 Manor Farm Cliddesden Basingstoke Hants

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