Ministers are to allow would-be advanced skills teachers to challenge their rejections. Warwick Mansell reports
TEACHERS whose applications to become advanced skills teachers fail can challenge the decision, following a concession by ministers.
The Government has been forced to introduce a review procedure in its scheme, which restarts this month following last summer's legal setback to the pay reforms.
One of the concessions introduced when the performance pay arrangements were redrawn in December was for teachers to have the right to appeal against rejection.
A similar opportunity has now been created for those applying to become "superteachers". The change is included in a Parliamentary order allowing the AST scheme to restart on Monday, April 23.
The delay has all but killed off the Government's chance of hitting its own target of having 5,000 ASTs in post by this September. Only 752 had been successfully assessed since the grade was introduced in 1998, 83 teachers failed in their applications, assessors Westminster Education Consultants told The TES this week.
Department for Education and Employment officials have admitted that the Government now faces a tight dadline dealing with what could be a flood of applications for the re-activated superteacher grade.
Teachers planning to take up AST posts at a new school have to know by the end of May whether they have been successful, in order to hand in their notice.
But the DFEE conceded on its website that the likely volume of applications means it cannot guarantee that all will be cleared by that deadline. Teachers in this position are encouraged to submit their applications as soon as possible.
The Government said this week that 130 teachers have been awaiting assessment while the scheme has been on hold. Schools were alerted to the scheme's revival in the department's latest letter to schools, outlining the teachers' pay award for 200102. It also signposts a new version of software which helps heads and payroll staff to calculate teachers' pay entitlements.
The software, introduced last September to help schools adjust teachers' pay to the new scale has now been updated on the DFEE's website at www.dfee.gov.ukteachin greformsrewardsteacherspay.
More information on ASTs is at dfee.gov.ukast or call Westminster Education Consultants on 020 7924 1093 (AST department)