Government plans to change management pay scales this year are confusing prospective job candidates and schools advertising senior posts.
The Department for Education and Skills has instructed councils to tell schools advertising management posts that they must stipulate that current pay arrangements are temporary and subject to revision.
However, ambiguous wording has led applicants to believe that the posts themselves are temporary, rather than the pay scales.
The problem is caused by plans to abolish or review management scales within the next year.
Professor John Howson, director of Education Data Surveys, said: "When the pay review body reported last October, it said that management allowances should be done away with in 2005. However, the Secretary of State announced this would effectively happen in 2004. But we do not yet know what will replace them.
"There is a huge amount of confusion. Some local authorities are policing the advertising quite strongly, while others are ignoring the policy or seem unaware of what is happening.
"The whole thing is a complete shambles. The DfES was warned in January that this problem was looming and schools would not know how to deal with it."
Professor Howson said possible wording of adverts might be "for one year in the first instance and subject to the outcome of an on-going Government review of management allowances".
Friday magazine, 18