Proper rewards for real results

23rd September 2005 at 01:00
This autumn, we will see a long-overdue change in the way that teachers are rewarded. Teaching and learning responsibility payments (TLRs) are to be introduced.

You might think teachers are already paid accordingly. This is partly true -some of the existing management allowances are clearly targeted on teaching and learning. However, many teachers receive money for responsibilities like looking after the school minibus, administering cover and taking responsibility for the school building, which do nothing to raise standards.

These reasons for obtaining management allowances would have been particularly irksome for a full-time classroom teacher who was at the chalk face every lesson doing what teachers surely ought to be doing.

From January 1, management allowances will cease and teachers will receive a TLR1 or TLR2 payment for teaching and learning responsibilities with strict criteria. TLR1 is the higher of the payments, ranging from pound;6,500 to pound;11,000, and TLR2 is the lower one, from pound;2,250 to Pounds 5,500.

How will schools be affected? Teacher A receives a management allowance for looking after the school minibus. This, clearly, is not focused on teaching and learning. Teacher A will receive no TLR, but his existing management allowance will be protected for three years. The only way that he can obtain another allowance is to take a responsibility focusing on teaching and learning.

Teacher B is the head of a small history department and has two management allowances. He oversees the teaching and learning of history in the school and so he will probably receive TLR2.

Teacher C is the head of science, the largest department in the school, and is responsible for the teaching and learning in this subject. In addition - and this is crucial for the receipt of TLR1 - he is also in charge of a "substantial" number of staff. This teacher, too, will be at the chalk face for a substantial amount of time and is rewarded accordingly.

In three years, when all responsibility payments are targeted at teaching and learning, the Government expects improvements in pupil attainment.

Precious educational resources will be properly spent on enabling professionals to do their job, and admin tasks will be done by admin staff.

It remains to be seen whether this change will have the expected outcome, but I am sure it will.

Jim Goodall is secretary of the Torfaen branch of the NASUWT

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