Tiers in your eyes

28th January 2005 at 00:00
Understanding the new management allowances could prove frustrating. Susannah Kirkman makes sure you don't miss the bus

Teachers still grappling with the intricacies of threshold payments are now facing a huge overhaul of management allowances over the next three years.

The existing scheme is likely to be replaced by a two-tier structure of Teaching and Learning Responsibility payments - TLR1 and TLR2.

How will the new system work? Here are some answers to the most common questions.

1. How will teachers qualify for a TLR2 payment?

For a TLR2 payment of between pound;2,250 and pound;5,500, you will have to show that you have a specific responsibility which focuses on teaching and learning and needs professional skills and judgment. This responsibility must be one which is not expected of all classroom teachers and it should be clearly defined in your job description.

You must be able to demonstrate that your responsibilities ensure high-quality teaching and learning and influence the progress of many pupils, not just the ones you teach.

You should be leading, managing and developing a subject or curriculum area or furthering pupils' progress across the curriculum.

2. What about TLR1 payments?

To gain one of these, worth between pound;6,500 and pound;11,000, you must meet all the criteria for TLR2 and be a line manager for a significant number of people.If you are the head of a large to medium-sized department, you stand a good chance of qualifying.

3. How will the new payments be decided?

Schools will have to carry out a staffing review. They will not be allowed to use payments to retain staff, reward good performance or pay for administration. Schools will be able to choose the number of different payment levels, but there must be a minimum gap of pound;1,500 between each level. Unions such as the Association of Teachers and Lecturers and the National Association of Head Teachers will produce guidance to help schools.

4. What are the advantages?

Some of the unions say the new structure will bring "clarity and transparency" as the levels of payment and the overall pay policy must be published. The Secondary Heads Association says it will give heads more flexibility over pay.

5. What are the disdavantages?

The National Union of Teachers says the plan is a recipe for "turmoil and uncertainty". Some teachers will actually lose money as not all the staff who currently receive management allowances will get them under the new system. One estimate says that up to 3,000 teachers could suffer pay cuts; it is thought that teachers at small primaries could be most at risk as these schools will find it difficult to fund Teaching and Learning Responsibility payments.

6. Are current management allowances protected?

Any teacher who faces a drop in salary will have their allowance protected for three years, unless they change schools in the meantime.

7. When will the changes happen?

If the scheme is accepted by the School Teachers' Pay and Review Body, the proposed timetable is:

* Autumn term 2005 - schools consult with unions and staff.

* By the end of 2005 - decisions on the new pay structure are made and published by schools, who will also issue a timetable for the changes.

* Within three years - schools must complete the switch-over.

8. Are all the unions recommending the new deal?

No. The NUT has called for significant pay rises for all experienced teachers. The other unions are saying that the scheme is the lesser of two evils; the original suggestions from the review body included sweeping cuts in the number of management allowances, one-off bonus payments and temporary allowances.

9. What is happening to performance-related payments?

Around 20 per cent of teachers currently on point three of the upper pay scale are expected to be eligible for the new "excellent teachers" payment,which replaces points four and five of the upper pay scale. It will probably start in 2006 and will bring salaries up to pound;41,000.

10. How will staff qualify for the excellent teachers' scheme?

It will no longer be enough to show a "substantial and sustained" contribution to your school. Instead you will have to demonstrate excellent results and take on extra duties, such as helping with teachers' induction, mentoring and staff development. But you will not be able to apply for the extra money unless your school has decided it wants "excellent" teachers and can afford to pay them.The Government has said there will be some additional funding for the scheme, but it has not specified how much.

11. Can I have an excellent teachers' payment and a responsibility payment?

No. You can either be an excellent teacher or a curriculum manager, not both. The School Teachers' Pay and Review Body has decided that the payments should be mutually exclusive.

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