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Thousands face pay cuts

A shake-up of teachers' pay will bring pay cuts for thousands of senior staff, but allow some "excellent" classroom teachers to earn pound;35,000.

The Government's pay review body has backed proposals by ministers, employers and most teacher unions to scrap management allowances and replace them with "teaching and learning responsibility" payments with tighter criteria.

The School Teachers' Review Body has also created an excellent teacher scheme - a "gold standard" for classroom teachers at the "pinnacle" of their jobs.

Becoming an excellent teacher would mean a rise of pound;2,372 (for teachers outside London and the fringe) but disqualify them from the new teaching and learning responsibility payments. The body has called for more advanced skills teachers, who can earn up to pound;49,872 for staying in the classroom and spreading good practice to other schools.

Management allowances worth between pound;1,680-pound;10,836, and paid to 192,000 teachers, will be scrapped by the end of this year. Not all staff who now get these will receive the new responsibility payments, worth pound;2,250 to pound;11,000, but those who lose out will have their pay safeguarded for three years.

The review body said that research by consultants PricewaterhouseCoopers had found many heads were paying management allowances for administrative duties or as an incentive to tempt or retain staff. The unions that negotiated the changes say they will mean a fairer, more transparent pay system.

Ruth Kelly, the Education Secretary, said the reforms would "enable rewards... for tasks which have a real impact in raising pupil attainment and the professional practice of other teachers".

The review body accepted that "some schools might be pressed financially" as they moved to the new system. David Hart, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said the Government would have to give more money to small schools to make the pay reforms work.

The NAHT, National Union of Teachers, and council personnel officers all expect the pay of thousands of teachers on allowances to be cut under the new system.

The review body also agreed that levels four and five of the upper pay scale will be replaced by an excellent teacher scheme: one in five teachers on level three of the upper pay scale is expected to move up to this new grade. These staff will be expected to act as mentors for colleagues. The pay of all teachers will rise by 3.25 per cent by September. This rise, agreed in 2003, applies to all pay levels from the main scale to the upper scale.

The joint government, employers and union body that drew up the pay changes, known as the Rewards and Incentives Group (RIG), had asked the review body to consider a minimum salary of pound;40,000 for advanced skills science and maths teachers to aid recruitment. But the body rejected this proposal and instead called for schools to create more advanced skills posts in these subjects.

It also recommended the NUT be included in future pay talks "without preconditions", noting that it had "much to contribute". However, it did not say the union should be included in RIG.

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