October 1999 - Newsletter

Government Pay Proposals Not Acceptable

Ian Murch, NUT Executive Member for West Yorkshire gives his view.

Last term, Doug McAvoy, the NUT's General Secretary set outa number of key points that he said would need to be satisfiedbefore the Union could begin to consider supporting theGovernment's proposals.

In my own view, these were the very minimum acceptable criteria,and I still had some reservations about the pay structure thatcould have arisen within them.

The Government's proposals just put to the School Teachers'Review Body (STRB) conspicuously fail to meet even these targets.

These proposals still include performancerelated pay, payment by results, fast tracks to higher pay fornew teachers, removal of limitations on working hours and workingdays for significant numbers of teachers in senior posts, andperformance awards for a minority of schools. They will:

Here I take the Union's targets one by one. There are otherissues of concern in the proposals which I hope to return to ina later newsletter.

NUT - There should be automatic salaryprogression through the incremental scale.
Government - "There will be a normal expectation... thatteachers gain an annual increment... unless the review outcomesindicate otherwise.
Fast track teachers will justify double annual payincrements"
. (Evidence to the STRB)

Comment - The Governments position is the same as before.After annual review some teachers will get two points, some willget one and some will get no points. The NUT target is not met.

NUT - There should be a higher levelof pay than present to which all teachers can progress.
Government - "Those who succeed in meeting the performancestandards could get an initial £2,000 uplift." (Evidenceto the STRB)
Comment - only those who meet the Governments performancestandards "could" get extra. This certainly won't beall teachers. The money allocated in the first year would be enoughfor £2,000 for one teacher in seven. The NUT target is notmet.

NUT - Appraisal must be supportiveof teachers and identify professional development.
Government - "teachers willbe reviewed annually against individually agreed objectives includingpupil progress.
Where information from the review... gives rise to concern aboutthe teacher, it may lead to a decision to investigate and recordperformance more intensively."
(Evidence to the STRB)

Comment - for appraisal to work as a professional developmentactivity, teachers would need to be able to speak freely abouttheir strengths and weaknesses. Government fails to meet the NUTtarget.

NUT - The future funding of any newsalary structure must be ring fenced and not result in teachers'salary progression being infced or determined by a schools budget.
Government - "Turning to the longer term, we wantschools to retain maximum autonomy in the management of theirown delegated budgets and intend the earmarked funding systemto operate for a transitional period." (Letter to Doug McAvoySept 99)
Comment -money is only earmarked for long enough to forceschools to introduce performance related pay, then it disappears.Government fails to meet the NUT target.

NUT- all teachers who have progressedbeyond the normal maximum should have their salary progressionassured. All salary progression gained should become the entitlementof a teacher wherever she/he teaches.
Government. "The Review Body will need to considerhow teachers who gain ..salary progression.. against nationalstandards should retain such salary progression on moving schools."
Comment - This is not a guarantee. The NUT target is notmet.

NUT - Complex administrative proceduresand bureaucratic burdens must not be introduced.
Government - "Issuing circular 2/98 gave heads andteachers practical common sense guidelines on reducing bureaucracy."
Comment. The new annual performance management has at leastthree stages for every teacher -planning, monitoring, and review.There is no indication of any extra funds for cover for thesejobs. Teachers will undoubtedly have to collect evidence of pupils'progress. The NUT target is not met.

NUT - There must be no increase inthe 195 days, 1265 hours. There must be no changes to conditionsof service which lessen protection or increase demands on teachers.
Government - "The current limitations on fast trackteachers' working hours (will) be relaxed. (They) will be expectedto demonstrate the strongest commitment to professional development- much of which will take place outside the school day. (FastTrack publication)
All teachers (will be) supported, stimulated and challenged bycolleagues on the fast track.
I do not propose to develop a new contract above the threshold..because higher professional expectations.. can be reflected appropriatelyin the existing contract."

Comment - Government confirms that the whole point of performancerelated pay is to increase workload. But teachers can't work harder.You can't get blood out of a stone. Government conspicuously failsto meet the NUT target.

NUT - There should be no link betweenappraisal and pay and no use of pupil exam/test results in thedetermination of pay.
Government - "Objectives will need to cover pupil progress...If the teacher's performance is poor... the annual step couldbe withheld..." (Evidence to the STRB)
"Increase percentage of A* and A grades at GCSE from 8% to15%.
Improve standards of attainment at KS2 in the physical... from40% at level 4+ to 50%"
(Examples of objectives from thePerformance Management Framework for Teachers)

Comment - the link between appraisal and pay and betweenpupil progress and pay could not be clearer. The NUT target isnot met.

I want results, lots of results, I am paid by results!

NUT - there should be a right of appealif salary progression is withheld due to questions about a teacher'seffectiveness.
Government - "if the teachers performance is poor,including in cases where formal competency procedures have notyet started, the annual step could be withheld. In such situationsthe teacher should be given written notice of the decision, andthe reasons for it."(Evidence to the STRB)
Comment - there is no right of appeal. The point can bewithheld just as part of the written record of the annual appraisal/performancemanagement. Government fails to meet the NUT target.

NUT -There should be a guarantee ofadditional pay wherever a teacher has additional responsibility.There should be national guidelines on the appropriate levelsof additional pay for particular additional responsibility.
Government - "there is probably a case for some curriculumleadership tasks to be reflected under the management allowancesystem.(emphasis added). the value of the new management allowancesshould... take into account the number of people managed."(Evidenceto the STRB)
Comment -This seems to indicate an intention to reducethe present number of responsibility points, never mind extendthem to primary schools. And the reference to numbers of teachersmanaged is also likely to hold down primary teachers' pay. TheNUT target is not met.

NUT - Any structure for salary progressionbeyond the normal maximum must be fair and equitable.
Government - It is important to be aware of the potentialfor unconscious discrimination about individuals based on stereotypes.
Comment - despite this "awareness" - ethnic minoritycivil servants continue to get lower Performance Related Pay scoresthan their white colleagues. The NUT target is not met.

 

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