Working week: Responsibilities: how the new deal works

26th November 2004 at 00:00
Your job and career questions answered

1. How will my two points for being exams officer be treated? We have no non-teacher admin support and I have two colleagues on one point each, as assistants to me.

2. I am an assessment co-ordinator in a primary school. I collect in the results, analyse across the year groups, look for trends in ability versus achievement, highlight pupils who seem to be under or over-achieving for their ability scores, give information on weak areas of the curriculum, and make recommendations for improvement.

3. I have just been appointed responsible form Year 6 and Year 7 transition in a secondary school. I get one point for this.

The suggestions are only proposals to the pay review body. They are the product of months of discussion by a working party, so it seems unlikely that they will not be accepted, at least in principle. Nevertheless, the review body is independent of government, employers and the trade unions and might focus on issues finessed by the working party. Until the review body reports, probably in January, we can only speculate.

Paragraph 19 of the working party's submission sets out the factors that should apply in the awarding of what are now to be called teaching and learning responsibility payments:

* The impact on educational progress beyond the teacher's assigned pupils.

* Leading, developing and enhancing the teaching practice of others.

* Leading, managing and developing a subject or curriculum area or pupil development across the curriculum.

* Line-management responsibility for significant numbers of staff.

I do not see how the role of exams officer will fit into these guidelines.

Although it is more than a mere administrative task, it does not need the key skills of a teacher. Indeed, I am surprised that a new grade of technician who checks achievement against targets and provides feedback for teachers has not yet emerged. Perhaps personalised learning will provide the spur for such a post. It could be argued that you have responsibility for staff, but if their roles disappear, so would that argument.

The assessment co-ordinator in a primary school performs a similar function that helps underpin teaching and learning, but does not need to be undertaken by a teacher, so it would also probably not be eligible unless it could be argued that it enhanced the teaching practice of others. Merely providing information would clearly not be enough.

A teacher responsible for the transition between key stages might qualify as having responsibility for "pupil development across the curriculum" depending upon how the job description was written. This is an area where there might well be disputes in the autumn of 2005, as schools write new staffing policies.

If you have a question for John Howson, please email susan.young@tes.co.uk

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