'My staff now feel valued'

17th February 2006 at 00:00
For headteacher Lawrence Montagu, last year's staffing review was a chance to show just how much he valued his colleagues.

Rather than cut the number of promoted posts as most schools have done, he created an additional seven at a cost of pound;35,000-a-year.

Each department at St Peter's high school in Tuffley, Gloucester, will be given the opportunity to appoint a teacher to oversee vocational education and the number of deputy heads of department will be expanded to allow greater attention to be paid to the needs of children at each key stage.

Mr Montagu, who was awarded an OBE for services to education in 2000, said the review was a useful exercise. "It focused my thinking on how I wanted the school to be structured in future," he said. "One or two staff felt hard done by, but that is inevitable with a staff of 104. We held three consultations and I think most teachers felt valued as a result of the process."

The total salary bill will be increased by pound;12-15,000 over the next two years while the salaries of those who lose out under the new arrangements are protected. It comes on top of an earlier pound;30,000 outlay by the school to employ additional staff to provide non-contact time for teachers.

Almost nine-tenths of the 1,568-pupil school's pound;7 million budget is spent on staff and Mr Montagu prides himself on providing more than the minimum 10 per cent non-contact time for teachers.

But he warns that philosophy could come under threat from the increasing costs of teachers who are progressing on the upper pay spine.

Gloucestershire council currently distributes extra funding, provided by the Government, to pay for the salaries of teachers on the upper pay spine.

Mr Montagu said: "My biggest fear, with such a big, experienced and talented staff, is what will happen when money for the upper pay spine becomes part of the general formula, as it surely will.

"It would cost us close to pound;200,000 extra and we would be forced to reduce our staffing. It would destroy many of the things we are trying to do."

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