Headlines: May 24th, 2005

Head teachers have today submitted a substantial pay claim to the School Teacher Review Body that could see some earning more than 130,000 pounds a year. They say that pay rates for heads have fallen behind those for staff in comparable jobs in the public and private sectors and that differentials between the Leadership Group and other teachers are too narrow.The National Association of Head Teachers says its is concerned about recruitment because of the relative fall in incomes. NAHT uses the Hay Group Job Evaluation Scheme to ‘benchmark’ head’s jobs against those of similar size in 505 organisations and this, it says, shows that head’s salaries have fallen behind by an average of nearly 20 per cent.

Deputy and Assistant Heads do not consider that the salaries on offer are sufficient to encourage them to take on the enormous responsibilities that come with headship, the union says, and it adds that the time has come to radically overhaul the Head Teacher Performance Related Pay Ranges.

NAHT’s claim is based on the assumption that the review body will make an award for the period from September 2006 to August 2008. The current deal ends in August next year and the STRB is expected to report to the Secretary of State on the next settlement this Autumn.

The claim would mean the minimum salary for the head of a small school primary – with up to 150 pupils – would rise from 38,000 pounds this September to 44,000 the following year and to 50,000 pounds in September 2007. In the same way pay for a head teacher at a large secondary school, teaching anything up to 2,500 students, would go from 65,000 pounds to 81,000 and then to 97,000 pounds.

NAHT says the top of the salary ranges, rates that heads should be able to achieve on a performance related basis, should enable the small school primary head to earn a salary of 61,000 pounds in September 2007, which would be a 20 per cent increase in the top of the performance related pay range over a two year period. For the head of a large secondary school pay could rise from 93,000 pounds 114,000 and then to 134,000, a 44 per cent increase in the top of the performance related pay range over two years.

David Hart, NAHT General Secretary, says heads are underpaid and their enormous responsibilities, which grow almost daily, are not recognised in salary terms. Teachers move up their performance related pay scales in large numbers but School Leaders are too often left behind because local authorities give bad advice to governors or because governing bodies are not aware of the level of reward that should be given to their heads.