Review backs pay hike

21st August 1998 at 01:00
Ministers under pressure to underwrite radical reform for staffing structures

Education authorities and unions want the Scottish Office to invest in the reform of teachers' salaries and career structures.

The TES Scotland understands this is likely to be a key recommendation from the millennium review, the joint inquiry by the authorities and unions intended to secure "a higher quality, value for money school education service fit for the 21st century".

The review has split into task groups which have been examining different aspects of education, including management structures in schools. The management group is believed to have recommended that pay must be improved as a matter of priority if teacher recruitment and motivation - and therefore educational standards - are not to suffer.

The Educational Institute of Scotland has argued that this year's 3 per cent rise "fell short of fair treatment for teachers", widening the gap with teachers in England and failing to meet increases in the cost of living.

The millennium review's report is likely to suggest that the present basic salary scale, which takes teachers who are honours graduates nine years to reach the top, should be shortened and those who are at the maximum point should be paid more than the current rate of Pounds 21,954.

But the report also stresses that the authorities cannot afford the considerable costs involved. Other suggested changes, such as stripping out layers of the promotion structure in secondary schools, would produce savings but these would be offset by the additional promoted posts proposed for primary schools and would also take time to achieve.

The two sides say the only way to kick-start these changes, which the Secretary of State has already hinted he supports as a means of persuading good teachers to stay in the classroom, is for the Government to provide the funding.

Ministers will, however, almost certainly press for something in return, particularly since the Chancellor has decreed in the Treasury's comprehensive review that the extra Pounds 1.3 billion being allocated to Scottish education over the next three years must not be spent on pay increases.

The task group says one way forward would be to cut out middle management jobs in secondary schools, where more than 50 per cent of teachers are in promoted posts. But the working party was deadlocked on how this could be done. The authorities want subjects grouped under faculty heads while unions said principal teachers were important in providing curricular leadership.

Any shake-up in promoted posts, however, is a matter for each education authority rather than for national bargaining in the Scottish Joint Negotiating Committee. The task group may therefore suggest a local "pointage system". Schools would be allocated a total number of points depending on their roll and circumstances and, with points values attached to each type and grade of post, they could then decide what staffing structures they needed or could afford.

This approach is seen to be an attractive solution to the lack of management back-up in primaries, where the head is the only member of the teaching staff in almost three out of five schools.

Surplus promoted posts could also be scrapped if the Scottish Office eased pension regulations on early retirements.

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