TLR pay row opens chasm

19th May 2006 at 01:00
Industrial action by teachers over changes to senior staff pay at a Derby secondary is likely to continue indefinitely, its headteacher said this week.

The National Union of Teachers wants to intensify strikes at Noel-Baker community college over plans to hand over responsibility for pastoral care, including head of year roles, to support staff.

It means that teachers could lose up to pound;8,000 each from their pay packets.

Paul Davies, the headteacher, says the changes - which also include creating five advanced skills teachers and three excellent teacher posts - will benefit pupils and accuses the union of attempting to bully governors.

He said: "Removing pastoral posts from teachers will raise standards. My governors are determined they will decide the staffing structure, not the NUT. Myself and senior managers are at one with them.

The NUT is using the education of students to bully the governing body, but governors are not prepared to do something they don't believe in.

"At the moment there is a chasm between us, which looks like continuing indefinitely."

Although the amount spent on teachers' salaries will fall as a result of the changes, the overall wage bill will increase by more than pound;60,000-a-year, he said.

The NUT has held four one-day strikes since February and is believed to be planning further strikes in coming weeks.

Noel-Baker is one of a handful of schools which have failed to resolve disputes over national reforms that will see management allowances replaced with teaching and learning responsibility (TLR) payments.

The changes, agreed between the Government and its social partner unions the NASUWT, Association of Teachers and Lecturers, and Association of School and College Leaders, are opposed by the NUT, which has so far held strikes at 29 schools in England and Wales. White Hart Lane school in Haringey, north-east London, became the latest to strike on Wednesday.

Industrial action has been avoided at the overwhelming majority of the 297 schools where the union declared a dispute.

Currently, 42 teachers at Noel-Baker receive management allowances. The school wants to cut this to 27 TLR payments. The union is demanding either a significant increase in the number of teachers who will receive TLR payments or a promise to protect the salaries of staff who lose out until 2011, three years after the safeguarding period set by the Government.

It has rejected the school's offer of a guarantee that no teacher will receive a salary in 2009 which is lower than their current pay.

The NASUWT ended its dispute with the school after it agreed to increase the number of TLR posts from 26 to 27.

The NUT's three most recent strikes have not closed the school, although Years 7, 8 and 9 pupils have been sent home.

John Dixon, NUT assistant secretary, said: "This union cannot stand by and allow the careers and salaries of our members to suffer in this way.

"Any damage to children's education as a result of the dispute is entirely down to the school's intransigence."

Mr Davies said teachers' support for action was falling with only 29 of the 38 NUT members observing the last day's strike.

Mr Dixon said some, such as those in their final year of teaching, were not expected to take part and staff remained strongly supportive of the campaign.

Diary 21

THE BACKGROUND

Schools in England were told to draw up new staffing structures by the end of December 2005 - the end of March in Wales - replacing management allowances with TLRs.

TLRs are intended to give extra money to teachers who are focused on raising standards rather than reward those who take on administrative tasks.

Individual teachers will lose existing management allowances of up to Pounds 10,500 per year. Others will gain TLRs of up to pound;11,250.

Existing management allowances which were awarded by December 2004 will be safeguarded for three years.

More than 170,000 teachers in England receive management allowances.

The Government expected the changes to save money but a TES survey in February showed schools expect their salary bills to increase.

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