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EDITIONS
Teachers Pay Friday, 14 July, 2000, 17:35 GMT 18:35 UK
Chaos in the staffroom
classroom scene
Teachers spent many hours completing application forms
Teachers who have applied for performance-related pay say they are disgusted at the court judgement which means there will be a delay in their getting the 2,000 rise.


To be told that our 2,000 this year might be in jeopardy is very, very distressing

Teacher Julie Grant
A High Court judge has ruled that the government acted illegally in the way it introduced aspects of the new pay system, which 197,000 teachers in England have applied for.

Their applications are currently being assessed - in some cases they have been approved already - but now the whole process will be delayed.

The case was brought by the National Union of Teachers, some of whose members are so annoyed they are inquiring about joining other teachers' unions.

Confusion reigns, with one of the main head teachers' unions telling its members to carry on assessing their teachers' applications - and the other saying "Put them in a drawer and take a holiday."

The Department for Education is waiting for legal advice on what to do next.

'Ludicrous' timescale

Julie Grant, a classroom teacher in a big secondary school in Kent, The Howard School, said she and 63 colleagues had applied to "cross the threshold" onto the new, higher pay scale.

This involved filling in an application form and amassing the evidence to justify their claim to be worth the 2,000 pay rise.

"We did it very seriously even though the timescale was ludicrous. A lot of us spent time revising our applications to make sure we put in top quality ones, and this is on top of the already excessive workload we have.

"Now to be told that our 2,000 this year might be in jeopardy is very, very distressing," she said.

Michael Moore, an executive member of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, said he had spent most of May and June helping about 300 teachers in the Greater Manchester area prepare their applications.

"Some of them were spending up to 30 hours putting together their evidence," he said.

'Deserting the union'

"There are going to be some very disappointed teachers out there.

"One of my colleagues in my own school is worried that all the effort may come to nothing and he's really disgusted and annoyed."

The anger was being directed at the NUT, he said - some of whose members had been contacting the ATL for application forms.

Head teachers, who are supposed to be now assessing teachers' applications, are also in the dark as to whether or not to carry on.

The Secondary Heads Association is telling its members to stop.

"Our advice is to suspend the process, put the forms in a locked drawer, and go and have a good holiday," said the general secretary, John Dunford.

"Head teachers have been under enormous pressure to get this done and many are distressed and very angry and are telephoning us in distress about this," he said.

Not again ...

The real problem had been the "undue haste" with which the government had tried to bring in the new system, he added.

Chris Nicholls, a head teacher in Essex, raised the possibility that teachers might have to go through the whole application process again.

"The vast majority took this enormously seriously, spent a lot of time doing it - the typical comment in my school was 'I lost my half term holiday doing this.'

"The worry is that if it goes back to Parliament one doesn't want the information on the applications to become too out of date - but the thought of having to turn round and ask my staff to do it again isn't feasible."

At the National Association of Head Teachers the advice to members is to carry on assessing teachers' applications.

Its salaries and pensions expert, Kerry George, said the union thought heads might as well do their assessments and get them in the post to CEA - the private firm handling the applications.

"Then it's CEA's problem," she said.

Links to more Teachers Pay stories are at the foot of the page.


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