February 1999 - Newsletter No.2

Teachers will have to resist Performance Related Pay and the Green Paper.


The Government has recently issued a "Technical Document" to look in depth at issues raised in its Green Paper on teachers' pay and conditions. Its proposals on performance related pay are divisive, demoralising and bad for the children we teach. They will lead to pay rises only for some, and then linked to increased workload.

Consultation, What Consultation?

So unconfident is the Government about its ideas that the technical paper is only being sent to headteachers. And only a "sample" of schools is being asked to respond. The Government is not asking for individual teachers' opinions at all.

The DfEE has not even prepared a summary of this technical document, yet it contains vital information that all teachers should have access to. Your NUT branch has prepared this leaflet. The sections in quotation marks that follow are taken from paragraph in the Technical Paper indicated by the number in brackets.

ANNUAL APPRAISAL WILL DETERMINE YOUR PAY

Appraisal becomes the key to the whole pay structure. Its outcome will determine whether teachers below the threshold get annual increments. It will determine who passes the threshold; whether teachers get increments above the threshold; and whether they have them taken away.

"Appraisal of classroom teachers will be based on at least three objectives agreed at the start of the appraisal cycle. It will draw on classroom observation and other information about performance. It will conclude each year with an appraisal interview with a senior manager"(13)
"Two of the objectives should relate directly to improved teacher performance of which at least one should involve target setting for expected pupil performance and/or progress. The third objective should relate to the teacher's professional development".(14)

All teachers are expected to improve their performance every year. They are supposed to improve their examination and test results. They are also supposed to arrange (and pay for ?) out-of-hours training every year.

"Relevant data (for appraisal) could include:

Feedback from pupils, parents and governors may also be relevant and informative". (16)

Using comparative data means teachers in parallel classes being in competition with one another.
Using pupil, parental and governor feedback is completely unprofessional and acts against the atmosphere of trust we try to build with parents.

ON THE THRESHOLD - of more work!

The element in the structure that existing teachers could look to for extra pay is crossing the threshold.

"The stages for threshold assessment are proposed as follows.
"The head should prepare a written recommendation for each threshold candidate. These recommendations should remain confidential and should not be communicated to candidates at this stage."(27)

General Meeting To Discuss The Green Paper and School Reorganisation

Tuesday 2nd March 5:00pm

Park Hotel, Oak Avenue
Off Manningham Lane
Bradford
"The assessor will decide whether to confirm or amend the recommendations of the head. Although there would be no right of appeal against the assessor's decision, a teacher could re-apply for threshold assessment at a later date."(30)

The paper does not specify any stage at which the heads recommendation should be shown to the teacher.

"Achieving the threshold standards will be demanding and may require more than one attempt. Over time we expect a majority of teachers to be able to meet the standards and to pass the threshold. But a sizeable minority will not and some may not wish to do so in view of the greater degree of commitment involved."(22)
"Teachers successful at the threshold will receive a substantial pay increase and access to higher pay ranges. In return all will have to make a fuller professional contribution to teaching and learning …by extending pupil's learning opportunities and devoting more of their own commitment and time to their own professional development while continuing to teach to a high standard. We intend to reflect this situation in a new contract for teachers above the threshold."(64)

Extending learning opportunities is likely to mean breakfast clubs, homework clubs, half-term revision, summer literacy schemes etc..

THE UPPER SPINE - NOT SO GOOD AS IT MIGHT SEEM

"We propose an immediate salary uplift of up to 10%, or around £2,000 for teachers that pass the threshold.

The Upper pay spine could extend from around £24,500 to £33,500 in steps of some £400 to £500, with further steps for sustained performance leading to £35,000."(66)

The Upper spine starts at £24,500, which is 5.6% more than point 9 on the exiting spine. That must be what UP TO 10% means? In annual steps of £400 it would take over 22 more years to go from £24,500 to £33,500 _ but see below because you won't be allowed to go up even at that rate.

"Once teachers have been assigned to a pay point of the upper spine, we propose that a range of a further three salary steps should be available."(66)
"We intend that it should be open to governors to award the first step after the teacher has been two full years on the upper salary spine. But there is no presumption that these three pay steps will be awarded to all teachers on the upper spine, nor that those who do receive them should do so annually. They will be in recognition of a teacher's continuing improvements in performance, for example where a teacher sustain very high pupil results over a three year period."(67)
"However the governing body would have the right to withdraw one or more of the performance steps that had been awarded. (if annual appraisals showed a serious decline in performance.)"(67)

Rationing

"For the two financial years 2000 _01 and 2001 _ 02 up to £1 billion is available to support the implementation of these policies. Beyond that period the new teachers' pay arrangements will be taken into account in assessing the national and local funding needs for education". (103)
"The head will make a recommendation to the governing body about the teacher's pay which the governing body will consider alongside the other pay recommendations it receives and in the light of the overall budget."(18)

The Government is promising a fixed sum for the next two years for the purposes of letting a predetermined number of teachers over the threshold - well under half of those at the top of the standard scale or in existing promoted posts on the NUT's calculations. Even this money, however, is only a pump priming exercise to ensure that the new scheme gets started. After 2 years, funding will have to come from the general sum allocated to the school for all other purposes.

Other Points To Note

SAY NO TO THESE WHOLLY UNREASONABLE PROPOSALS
VOTE YES IN THE BALLOT FOR A BOYCOTT OF THE PROPOSED NEW APPRAISAL SYSTEM
SUPPORT OTHER MEASURES TO OVERTURN THESE PLANS


 

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