Is this the shape of things to come?

27th August 1999 at 01:00
Neil Munro summarises the offer put by the education authorities to the unions last Friday. All-embracing reform would cover eight aspects of pay and conditions

PROFESSIONAL STRUCTURE

Three grades are proposed. A basic grade for all 24,174 non-promoted staff will be shortened from next August allowing teachers to reach a more generous maximum in six years not 10, provided there is "confirmation of professional progress" through appraisal.

Professional leaders, who will have to pass through a performance bar, will be phased into nursery, primary, secondary and special schools over five years to replace 7,134 principal teachers.

"Accredited professional leaders", seen as suitable for further promotion, will succeed 8,773 senior teachers and assistant principal teachers. Initially there are expected to be 10 leaders in an average secondary of 800 pupils and two or three in a single-stream primary, holding whole-school as well as curricular posts.

Senior management will continue to consist of assistant heads, deputes and heads who will also be assessed for suitability.

SALARY

The basic grade would move from 10 increments of pound;13,206-pound;21,954 to a six-point scale of pound;16,480-

pound;25,750 by April 2001 (including that year's 3 per cent rise).

These increases range from 10.6 per cent to 24.8 per cent.

Accredited professional leaders would be on pound;26,780, compared with pound;22,623-pound;23,931 currently paid to senior teachers and assistant principal teachers.

This would mean three-year rises of between 11.9 per cent and 18.4 per cent.

Principal teachers would move from their existing range of pound;24,768 pound;28,893 to the professional leadership grade of pound;27,810-pound;32,445, increases of 11.6 per cent to 13.1 per cent. Those assessed as the brightest and best could earn up to pound;36,050.

Salaries for senior promoted posts will be on a 27-point scale rising from pound;30,462 to pound;57,771 instead of pound;27,198-pound;51,582, a straight 12 per cent rise.

WORKING HOURS

AND CLASS CONTACT

The 35-hour working week over 39 weeks (1,365 hours a year) will include 50 hours to reinforce mainstream learning.

This will require teachers to take homework clubs, supported study, Easter and summer schools, and home-school liaison - restricted to two hours a week.

Heads will have to consult staff on how this time is deployed, and they will have to ensure priority is given to adequate time for preparation and correction.

Class contact is to be reduced for primary teachers from 25 hours a week to 23.5 by August 2004 in line with that of secondary teachers. Special school teachers will have a fixed limit for the first time of 22.5.

CLASS SIZE

Maximum limits will be 30 pupils in all primary and secondary classes starting in August 2000, a reduction of three at the 5-14 stages. Practical classes will be defined as they are now with no more than 20 pupils.

The 25-pupil ceiling on composite classes will be lifted, moving to 30 by next August beginning with primaries 1 and 2. Classes with more than two age-groups will continue to be fixed at 25 pupils or fewer.

ABSENCE COVER

Negotiation should be at local level. The former national agreement, stipulating cover after three days of unplanned absences, will continue until a local scheme is introduced.

LOCAL BARGAINING

AND CONSULTATION

A scheme will be drawn up specifying areas for national negotiation and matters to be agreed between unions and authorities. There will be a duty to set up consultative groups in every school.

FAMILY AND PERSONAL LEAVE

An attempt will be made by next August to negotiate improved arrangements - a leave entitlement of 59 days covering the working week and public holidays.

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