Pay plight of roving staff

12th May 2000 at 01:00
Itinerant teachers could be denied the chance to apply for the performance wage rise, reports Nicolas Barnard.

THOUSANDS of teachers could miss out on the pound;2,000 performance pay rise because they work in more than one school, warn employers and teachers' leaders.

Itinerant teachers, special needs support staff and other teachers employed by local authorities will have problems applying to cross the new pay threshold before the deadline of June 5.

Many cannot get hold of application forms, while senior staff have not received training in how to administer the new system and assess applicants, say teachers' leaders and local government representatives.

At least 15,000 teachers - possibly many more - are classed as "teachers in non-standard settings". They include those working in ethnic minority and traveller services, supply teachers em-ployed by the local authority, and those in pupil referral units.

Teachers deployed by local authorities already face an uphill struggle to show they meet the criteria for the threshold - in particular, that they have an impact on pupil performance. Many do not work directly with children.

All teachers at the top of the pay scale are entitled to apply. Those with the hardest cases to prove are likely to be full-time trade union officials, who remain on teachers' contracts and ae employed by local councils under "facility time" agreements.

Doug McAvoy, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said: "A number of authorities are not supplying line managers to do the assessment or are actually denying that the teachers do jobs that enable them to cross the threshold because they do not work in the classroom."

Many authorities sent inspectors to April's training days for heads instead of the line managers who could have to deal with 70 or 80 applicants, according to the National Association of Head Teachers. Local authorities blame the Government for leaving them out of the loop. Apart from assessing their own employees, they have no formal role in the threshold process.

Graham Lane, education chair of the Local Government Association, said: "A whole host of people could be discriminated against because they can't get through the threshold on the criteria for classroom teachers. This could provoke industrial tribunals."

More training days are planned to help heads implement the new threshold. The Department for Education and Employment is providing a repeat of April's one-day events for up to 4,500 heads and deputies who missed out or who felt their first day was inadequate. All heads are expected to receive a half day's training after the June 5 deadline for applications.

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