New upper spine does not stand up;Letter

5th March 1999 at 00:00
IS DAVID Blunkett deliberately trying to mislead us? He said "Our proposals would allow about 250,000 teachers to apply to cross a performance threshold bringing an initial salary uplift of up to 10 per cent and access to a new range up to pound;35,000" (TES, February 5) However, according to the technical paper, the upper spine will start at pound;24,500. That means that a teacher at the threshold (point 9) would get an increase of only 5.6 per cent - not up to 10 per cent in any sense. An increase lower than if an extra point under the current system - point 10 is pound;24,630.

On the fabled pound;35,000, the technical paper proposes incremental steps of pound;400 on the upper spine. If a teacher got an extra point each year it would take more than 22 years to reach pound;33,500.

But there is a further proposal that there would be only three steps (of pound;400 or pound;500) after crossing the threshold. A teacher could not get any higher than pound;26,000 simply by passing the threshold.

We think it is very important that Mr Blunkett should correct the impression he has given about the rewards of the Green Paper.

We also want him to realise the very negative impact his proposals will have on teamwork. As Peter Mortimore of the Institute of Education has pointed out, all research on school improvement shows that teamwork is vital. These proposals will damage that teamwork and so damage the education of our children. Please change policy.

K Courtney plus 20 local teacher union representatives, Camden Teachers Association, 100 Stanhope Street, London NW1

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