Primary heads shaken

12th February 1999 at 00:00
Frances Rafferty and Biddy Passmore report on the potential for discord created by the profession's new salary structure

HEADS in similar-sized primary schools will receive hugely different pay rises, ranging from 14.5 per cent to 0.01 per cent, under the new arrangements announced by the Government last week.

Analysis of the arrangements, which puts heads' pay in bands based upon pupil numbers weighted by key stages, show that in September some heads will receive just pound;36 extra a year in addition to the general 3.5 per cent rise for teachers.

However, the extra they get from the restructuring will vary greatly from the average 6.5 per cent quoted in the headline figures.

The intention was to give primary heads a substantial boost, but the National Association of Head Teachers has worked out that only 2,500 will get in excess of 6.5 per cent.

Those on mid-spine point 15 will get a pound;36 pay rise, those on point 22, pound;84, and those on point 13 (2,350 heads) will get pound;114. The heads who are losing out are those who have already gained pay enhancements from governing bodies.

Paul Norris, head of the 90-pupil Docking primary, near King's Lynn, is typical of those who have lost out. He is on point 15, his pay having been boosted for a positive inspection and good performance. The new structure does not move him much higher.

"Everybody will think I've had a huge pay rise - nothing could be further from the truth. The extra I received for good performance has gone out of the window," he said. "Now I am expected to implement a performance-related pay system for teachers when it has worked against me."

The review body was asked by the Education Secondary to find a way to boost primary heads' pay, to stave off a recruitment crisis. It came up with a structure intended to attract new people to headship, making the pay differential between a classroom teacher and head large enough to be attractive.

The existing structure, which allowed heads to be given discretionary rises, agreed by their governors, has led to some heads doing better than others, especially those in the South. Heads in the North, where governors have been less generous, should profit from the new arrangements.

Under the new system, which starts in September, governing bodies will assign heads a personal seven-point range for their post. This is intended to build an expectation of progression based upon performance.

School Management, 27

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