Unions welcome hint of appraisal scheme delay

5th March 1999 at 00:00
THE FIRST SIGN of a Government concession on the Green Paper emerged this week with hints that the annual assessment of teachers could be delayed.

The new appraisal scheme, which has attracted widespread criticism, is due to start in September. But Government sources now say they expect annual appraisals to start "within the next school year".

The shift was welcomed by teacher union leaders, who would prefer the scheme to be delayed by 12 months.

Teachers will be set targets, including one based on pupil performance. Appraisal will be linked to pay and professional development.

Nigel de Gruchy, general secretary of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, said he had told standards minister Estelle Morris to note the pay review body's report, which says that only a third of governing bodies had implemented performance pay systems for heads, three years after they were supposed to. He said: "This does not bode well if the Government wants all teachers to be appraised by performance."

A paper by the National Union of Teachers said: "For each teacher the appraisal interview would move away from the mutual trust and respect in each existing appraisal scheme to a high stakes interview with senior management on which movement up the pay spine would depend."

The NUT has said that it will ballot its members to boycott appraisal if it is introduced this September.

Chris Tyldsley, a secondary teacher from Sheffield, said Department for Education and Employment officials, running a Green Paper road show, were told by virtually everyone in the room that they opposed linking appraisal to pay.

He said: "Heads said it was too bureaucratic, classroom teachers said it was divisive and governors said they didn't want the responsibility of delivering it."

* GREEN PAPER TES READERS' CHANCE TO QUESTION STANDARDS MINISTER

TES readers are being given the chance to have their questions about the Green Paper answered directly by standards minister Estelle Morris.

The consultation period for the Paper, which will radically change teachers' pay and conditions, ends at the end of the month. Teachers' pay is to be linked to performance and meeting objectives agreed with senior staff.

Classroom teachers will be able to move to a higher pay scale, following assessment by their head and an external assessor.

Crossing the threshold will mean a 10 per cent rise and the opportunity to earn up to pound;35,000, depending on performance.

Teachers will have to show that they keep up to date with their subject, have taken part in professional development courses, are competent with computers and can motivate their pupils. Targets will include pupil performance.

Also proposed is a new leadership spine for senior staff, advanced skills teachers and heads.Progress up the spine will depend on performance assessed by the governing body.

There will be a scheme of fast-tracking allowing rapid promotion for young high flyers. Top-of-the range fixed contracts will be available for troubleshooter heads to take on problem schools.

The Government has allocated pound;60 million a year to reward schools that have excellent exam results or show sustained improvement.

The TES website has details of the Green Paper and a form for writing your questions. You may also e-mail questions and comments which will be forwarded to Ms Morris - her answers will appear later this month.

Questions to the minister can also be sent to Frances Rafferty, The TES, Admiral House, 66-68 East Smithfield, London E1 9XY or faxed on 0171 782 3200.

www.tes.co.uk

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