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EDITIONS
Teachers Pay Wednesday, 22 November, 2000, 20:02 GMT
Teacher pay rises 'by year end'
David Blunkett
David Blunkett wants money to be paid by Christmas
Teachers could be receiving the first performance-related payments before the end of the year, says the Education Secretary David Blunkett.

The government will be seeking a Christmas "feelgood factor" in the staffroom, as it pushes ahead with the delayed merit pay scheme - with the promise of a backdated pay rise for successful applicants.


We are hopeful that the first teachers will get their pay increases by Christmas

Education Secretary David Blunkett

After legal action by a teachers' union had stopped the introduction of performance pay this autumn, the government now says that it has carried out the necessary consultations and that the pay reforms are back on track.

The government's re-structuring of teachers' pay will see successful teachers receiving a 2,000 increase, after they have crossed an ability "threshold".

And the Department for Education announced on Wednesday that teachers could find out "within days" whether their applications for threshold payments were successful.

200,000 applications

Assessments for these threshold payments had begun when the implementation of the scheme was interrupted in July by a legal action by the National Union of Teachers.

But now the government says that the process has re-started and that external assessors will soon be visiting schools, as decisions are taken on the 197,000 applications for the higher pay scale in England.


They won't get any money until well into the Easter term

Nigel de Gruchy, NASUWT
"We are hopeful that the first teachers will get their pay increases by Christmas," said Mr Blunkett.

"We introduced performance-related pay to reward good classroom teachers and to make teaching a more attractive career option.

"The introduction of the new system is a vital part of recruitment and retention - and is helping us with the first increase in teacher recruitment for eight years," said Mr Blunkett.

Teachers' unions have campaigned against performance pay as an unfair and divisive system - and there could be further hurdles for the government in implementing reforms.

The right of appeal for teachers who have been refused merit pay rises could prove a disputed area - with the prospect of protracted cases testing the grounds on which teachers can be judged to have deserved or not deserved performance payments.

'Not by Christmas'

Nigel de Gruchy, general secretary of the National Union of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, welcomed Mr Blunkett's announcement.

But he said it was unlikely that teachers would have the extra cash by Christmas.

"They may have the results of their assessments by then, but they won't get any money until well into the Easter term," he said.

The review process was a "long way short" of a proper appeal process, he added, but said the NASUWT would support members who felt aggrieved on an individual basis rather than seeking a general stoppage through the courts.

Altered wording

The Association of Teachers and Lecturers claimed its lawyers had prevented the government - "whether by accident or intent" - changing the basis upon which teachers had applied to cross the threshold.

General secretary, Peter Smith said: "ATL's lawyers noticed that previously the DfEE's guidance stated that teachers should 'broadly' meet the standards, while the new version said 'consistently'.

"The new wording would allow a head teacher to decide against an applicant for failing to meet the standards on just one occasion."

By reading the small print, the union had, Mr Smith claimed, protected teachers from "even more chaos and confusion".

See also:

22 Jun 00 | Teachers Pay
12 Sep 00 | UK Education
09 Feb 00 | Teachers Pay
06 Jun 00 | Teachers Pay
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