Special needs staff win pay rise

7th April 2000 at 01:00
THOUSANDS of special needs teachers in mainstream schools could be in line for a pay boost following a county court judgment in Durham.

Three special needs teachers employed at Deerness Valley comprehensive, Durham, challenged their school governors and local authority over their right to extra pay points.

National pay and conditions agreements provide for a possible two points for classroom teachers working "wholly or mainly" in special needs education.

Some schools have taken a narrow interpretation of the wording and restricted pay points only to teachers working solely with statemented children.

Now Durham county court has declared that it is not necessary to establish that the teachers spent more than 50 per cent of their time actually teaching the pupils. It is enough that they were applying their specialist skills wholly or mainly for that purpose.

Two of the teachers employed at the school were awarded pound;12,700 each in back-pay and the third, who no longer works there, will receive pound;9,735.

The National Union of Teachers, who backed the challenge, claimed that the ruling could have implications for thousands of special needs teachers.

Doug McAvoy, general secetary, said: "This is a very important approach which will probably have a significant impact."

All 23,000 state schools have special educational needs co-ordinators who may provide support in the classroom. A typical 1,000-pupil secondary school could employ up to four specialist teachers.

But Mike Walker, of the National Employers Organisation, said that while the interpretation of the pay and conditions agreement could be difficult, it was unlikely that one judgment would cover all cases.

Disability groups are fighting to remove a clause from a forthcoming Bill which would allow councils to take into account the effect on resources when deciding whether special needs and disabled pupils can attend mainstream schools. The new disability discrimination Bill, due before Parliament shortly, says that, in principle, such pupils should be educated in mainstream schools.

A new inclusion website, inclusion.ngfl.gov.uk has been launched to help teachers find resources for pupils' special needs.

Consultations on the new Bill close on April 28. Copies are available at www.dfee.gov.uksen or by telephoning 0207 925 5528.

See special needs curriculum special this week

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today