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Tuesday, 19 February, 2002, 11:27 GMT
Heads consider ballot over pay
girls working
Heads warn there will be less money for books
Industrial action by head teachers over funding to pay experienced staff moved a step closer following a "depressing" meeting with Schools Standards Minister Stephen Timms.

The Secondary Heads Association (Sha) and the National Association of Heads Teachers (NAHT) met Mr Timms on Monday to demand more money to fund performance-related pay for classroom teachers in England and Wales.


Head teachers are the last people the government should pick a fight with

David Hart, NAHT
Prior to the meeting, the two unions had said they would consider the unusual move of taking action, in the form of refusing to co-operate with the pay system.

Now the government has rejected their calls to increase a special grant of 250m over the next two years, the unions are expected to go through with their threat.

They are concerned the money will pay for only half of the teachers who merit a rise.

Sha's general secretary, John Dunford, said the meeting with Mr Timms had produced "absolutely nothing".

John Dunford
John Dunford: "Nothing has changed"
"The minister simply told us how we ought to be doing it - there was no recognition that heads have been given an impossible job to do with inadequate funds," said Mr Dunford.

"The strength of feeling will be stronger in the light of this refusal to meet us half way."

Mr Dunford said the unions were disappointed the government had ignored recommendations made by the independent School Teachers Review Body to put more money into the upper pay spine for teachers.

"Heads are angry and disappointed at being placed in this impossible situation," he said.

Books and equipment

General secretary of the NAHT, David Hart, said they were on a "collision course" with the government.

"What the minister was saying is that books, equipment and staffing will have to go out the window in order to fund the government's performance-related pay scheme," said Mr Hart.


It is irresponsible for head teachers not to give their teaching staff the opportunity for performance-related pay

Department for Education
"What the government appears to be saying now is that the teachers in the worst funded schools are going to be discriminated against," said Mr Hart.

"Head teachers are the last people the government should pick a fight with - particularly at the present time - because they are the ones who are managing the education system for it."

A spokeswoman for the Department for Education said: "Teachers have a right to be managed and assessed by heads.

"But it is irresponsible for head teachers not to give their teaching staff the opportunity for performance-related pay - the government will be making sufficient funds available for this," she said.

See also:

18 Feb 02 | Education
Heads challenge minister over pay
13 Feb 02 | Education
Heads threaten ballot over pay scheme
23 Jan 02 | Education
Teachers to get 3.5% pay rise
23 Jan 02 | Education
Rise is not enough say teachers
22 Jun 00 | Teachers Pay
80% of teachers want merit pay
12 Sep 00 | Education
Performance pay 'benefits' teachers
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