Senior teachers must coach others and prove their 'substantial'
contribution. William Stewart reports
Experienced teachers will have to coach or mentor their colleagues to get salary increases of more than pound;1,000 at the top of the pay scale under new criteria proposed by the Government.
The greatest rewards will go to teachers, at all stages of their careers, who make "the biggest contributions to improving pupil attainment", develop their expertise and help other staff.
Teacher appraisals are to be "refocused" so they become "teaching and learning reviews".
This is the vision the Westminster government has set out as part of its five-year plan for education, to be implemented by September 2006.
Teachers' pay issues have not been devolved to the Welsh Assembly.
Under the plan, experienced teachers who aim to progress through the three levels of the upper pay scale will have to show that they have made a "substantial and sustained" contribution to their school and have developed their teaching expertise.
For the first time, to get the biennial salary increases of more than pound;1,000, they would have to "provide regular coaching and mentoring to less expert teachers".
The Government has also backed a proposal by the School Teachers' Review Body to make annual pay rises on the main scale, previously seen as automatic, dependent on written performance reviews from heads. It also proposes that applications from teachers to cross the pay threshold and qualify for level one of the upper pay scale should be assessed independently by "other professionals from other schools".
Unions believe recent pay changes should be given a chance to work before any more are introduced. Nigel Middleton from Head Support, a consultancy advising heads on the threshold system, said involving professionals from other schools was likely to be "incredibly bureaucratic" and such decisions should be left to heads who knew their staff best.
Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, said she was "very concerned" by the prospect of teachers having to coach colleagues to progress through the upper scale. She saw the idea of "teaching and learning reviews" designed to raise teaching standards as part of a quid pro quo with a Government that had been tackling teacher workload.
Geraint Davies, secretary of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers Cymru, is concerned that new and experienced teachers will face additional hurdles in progressing up the main and upper pay scales.
"There is an extra role here for experienced teachers, in guiding newer colleagues into the profession, but we need to be very careful it doesn't impose extra bureaucratic burdens," he said.
"Annual increments are important to those new to the profession - it's important they have a career structure carefully marked out for them. Any artificial hurdles will do nothing but sap their morale."
Education Secretary Charles Clarke issued a new remit to the review body last week asking it to make recommendations on the Excellent Teachers scheme that will replace levels four and five of the upper scale. It will also be asked to look at a new framework of management allowances and principles for safeguarding existing pay levels.
He also asked the review body whether he should implement the pay increases for secondary maths and science advanced skills teachers recommended in the Smith report on maths and Roberts report on science.
The review body has been told to report by January 21.