April 2002 - Newsletter

Post Threshold Pay

Are You Eligible ?

Teachers who passed the Threshold in the first round (paid from September 2000) are eligible for the next point on the Upper Pay Spine from September. This is worth an extra £1,032 a year.

If you are in this position, there are things you need to know:
Your school must in law consider you for this payment as part of an annual review (but your head and governors may well not be clear about this)
You do not get this payment automatically, but you do not need to “apply for the Threshold all over again”, in fact you do not need to apply at all
The only criterion in the official guidance for the payment is that you are making a “sustained and substantial” contribution to the school, as you had to be to pass the Threshold in the first place
Your Governing Body must make their decisions on awarding the next point this term.

So Do I Get It?

The Union’s view is that like other increments, this should only be withheld if there is specific evidence of poor performance already identified before the review. Movement up this spine does not require you to produce portfolios etc.

The Government’s view is that it is up to heads how many people they pay, but they are allocating only a fixed sum towards the cost of this.

The view of the School Teachers Review Body was that the substantial majority of teachers should get the money.

The view of SHA and the NAHT – the Unions catering only for heads and leadership teams (the NUT covers all types of teachers) was that who gets the money should be entirely at the discretion of heads, but the Government should fund their decisions.

Everyone agrees that the extra money will fund no more than 80% of those eligible getting the next payment, some believe it will fund less than this.

The NUT believes that schools must pay up – and demand that the Government meet any shortfall in their budgets.

The SHAdy deal

The NAHT and SHA were threatening industrial action for the first time in their history because their members did not want to be faced with industrial relations problems, including potential grievances and actions in the Employment Tribunals if they denied people the rise, and because the same pot of money had to cover their performance rises as well as those of their staff.

The Review Body this year argued against any change in the criteria which have already been laid down and published. But, like the pigs in George Orwell’s Animal Farm who creep into the barn at night and change the commandments written on the wall, the NAHT and SHA have shamefully conspired with Government to try to change the rules.

The Government claims to have done a deal with them behind the backs of the organisations that represent the vast majority of teachers.

SHAm Criteria

The deal ringfences money for heads’ rises, and then they seek to introduce new criteria that will materially affect the salaries, careers and pensions of other teachers in their schools. The additional criteria are not intended to increase the number of post-threshold teachers progressing to point 2 on the Main Professional Scale. The new criteria are intended to provide the NAHT and the SHA headteacher with the excuse for failing at least one in five teachers.

Some examples of these additional criteria are:

Tackling successfully an aspect of pupil underachievement the school wants to address;
Contributing significantly to the school’s development plan;
Narrowing the achievement gap between boys and girls.

Teachers would be judged on their work over the last two years against these criteria, which they can have had no idea they would be expected to address and may have no relevance to their own role.

Our Advice

The only criteria that have legal force are those set out at the beginning of this Newsletter.

Those who passed the threshold in 2000 and have continued to work at the same level of effectiveness should be regarded as having met the criteria.

The NUT Will Act To Protect Your Interests

The National Union will shortly issue specific information to everyone affected. In the meantime, it would be helpful if NUT Reps could approach their headteachers and ask them what they will be doing to address the issue. If the answer causes concern, please let us know. As with Threshold applications, the Bradford NUT Office will be available to assist members in any aspect of this process.

And the NUT will continue to fight to end this and all other ridiculous forms of so-called performance related pay.


"I cannot see the point in going for a limit on the number of hours teachers teach. They are teachers, for God’s sake." Estelle Morris in the TES, 5/4/02

The Minister’s apparent view that our working hours are limitless provided an urgency to the debate on a Teachers’ Contract this year.

Ian Murch, Bradford NUT Secretary, made a speech about the necessity of specific contractual safeguards, including class size limits, further protection against the requirement to cover for absences, the right to non-contact time, and greater security of tenure.

Conference voted unanimously to carry out, with the other main classroom unions, industrial action in the autumn to limit our members hours to 35 a week if we fail to win real improvements in teachers’ contracts.

The motion ‘Opposing Racism’ called for the right of the children of refugees and asylum seekers to receive their educational entitlement.

Bradford delegate Stuart Davies proposed a successful amendment based on our experience in Bradford since the riots, which "congratulate[d] teachers on their day-to-day commitment to work in our poorest and most disadvantaged communities to raise educational attainment and to promote respect and mutual understanding between different ethnic and religious communities," and called for a range of measures to make the content of education more relevant to the particular needs of such communities

Bradford was represented at Conference by 10 delegates. A longer report of the debates and decisions of the Conference will be carried in the next edition of the NUT's magazine, The Teacher.

If you haven't opened your last copy, you will have missed an article in which Ian Murch was interviewed about the privatisation of Bradford's education services.


Are you looking for a job share partner? We know of a primary school teacher who is. If you may be interested please contact the Union office and we will put you in touch.


Some insurance companies provide cover for mortgage repayments in the event of loss of earnings caused by time off work. A case has come to our attention of a company refusing to pay up because the reason for the absence from work was stress – it seems this exclusion clause was written in the small print. It’s worth checking this when buying insurance cover.


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