Teachers face losing 10 days off a year

11th September 1998 at 01:00
Ministers draw up plans to sort out the staffing crisis, while employees try to increasee working hours

TEACHERS would be expected to work an extra 10 to 15 days at weekends and outside term-time, and working limits would be abolished for senior staff, under employers' proposals.

The new pay and conditions package would abolish deputy heads and create a management scale for all senior staff, including department heads. Headteachers would have their own pay scale.

The number of "pupil days" would still be 190, but classroom teachers would have their working year extended from 195 to 205 days. Teachers promoted to the top of their grade, would be expected to work an extra 15 days.

The National Employers' Organisation for School Teachers (NEOST) is proposing a main scale for classroom teachers ranging from about pound;14,000 to pound;30,000. Teachers would progress up the spine following appraisal, based upon targets, performance and extra responsibilities. Big pay rises would be possible by "accelerated promotion" for excellent teachers.

An alternative route for classroom teachers, who do not want to go into management, would be the advanced skills teachers scale from pound;27,000 to pound;42,000.

Nigel de Gruchy, general secretary of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, said: "The employers have some interesting ideas on salary structure and appraisal, but if they try to take holidays away from teachers then any chance of sensible discussion will go out of the window. I have members who say if they were offered a 100 per cent pay increase in return for fewer holidays they wouldn't accept it."

Tony Meredith, assistant secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, said: "The proposals for the new scales and the position of deputy heads certainly sound worth considering, but there is absolutely no evidence that teachers are prepared to work more days; they're stressed at the long weeks they do already."

The New Deal for Schools proposes increasing the number of support staff to reduce the administrative burden on teachers. It says: "Modernising the pay structure is not enough in itself. Working conditions also need to be modernised, in particular working time."

If teachers are to receive substantial pay rises, they will be expected to work three, four or five-term years, weekends and outside term-time. Maternity and sickness pay could be brought into line with other public-sector workers.

Graham Lane, chair of NEOST, said the package would increase the pound;11.5 billion teachers' pay bill by just under 10 per cent. The proposed changes could be phased in over three years.

He said: "The aim is to achieve a modern, flexible contract which will reward teachers on objective criteria for their particular skills and management acumen. By increasing support staff, we hope to make the job much more exciting and attractive."

The employers' New Deal for Schools will be presented to education minister Estelle Morris next week as part of the Green Paper consultations on modernising the teaching profession.

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