Headlines: March 17th, 2004

A new pay award scheme for excellent teachers has been announced by Education Secretary Charles Clarke. The proposals, based on the recommendations of the independent School Teachers’ Review Body, will give excellent teachers a maximum annual salary of 34,872 pounds from April 2004. This will rise to 36,006 pounds by September 2005.The creation of the new scheme will mean that the April 2004 ceiling for teachers who do not reach the excellent teacher standard will be 32,493 rising to 33,549 in September 2005.

From September 2005 progression on the main scale will be more closely tied to performance and increments will not be awarded automatically. Head teachers will decide whether, on the basis of a teacher’s performance and professional development, they have achieved at least the standard required to merit an increment on the main scale. It is planned to give Heads training on linking pay to performance.

There is to be further discussion on a move to local pay rates to replace national scales. This move is in line with Treasury policy for all public service pay to be based on local pay rates.

Most of the teacher unions have accepted the proposals, but the National Union of Teachers has expressed anger. Doug McAvoy, its General Secretary said: “Rarely can there have been so much bad news for teachers.” The union views the creation of the excellent teacher scheme as limiting the number of teachers who can be called ‘excellent’. It is also opposed to regional and local pay and the extension of performance criteria to the main scale based on pupil progress.