Saturday, 27 April 2013

NUT / NASUWT Pay Policy checklist released

The NUT and NASUWT have released a joint checklist for pay policies ready for the negotiations that should be taking place in schools, Local Authorities and Academy Chains across the country this term, now that Michael Gove has imposed the new School Teachers' Pay and Conditions Document.

As a new National NUT Reps Bulletin makes clear, "winning an acceptable pay policy in each school is important, but it is only a temporary expedient in our campaign to force Michael Gove to withdraw his proposals" 

An escalating programme of regional and national strike action is still the key. Nevertheless, it is important that NUT groups and Associations, alongside NASUWT colleagues, seek to "secure an acceptable pay policy in your school which protects members against the worst effects of the Government’s changes to the teachers’ pay structure".

The checklist - and the policy that will soon be released as well - "seek to maintain existing arrangements for pay scales and pay portability and establish fair standards for pay progression which are consistent between schools".

The Reps Bulletin makes clear that if schools persist in trying to impose a pay policy which doesn’t comply with the checklist, "members will be supported to take strike action with strike pay – where they are willing to do so – to win an acceptable policy".

Here are some of the key points in the checklist:

  • School pay policies which accord with the provisions in this checklist will help to recruit, retain and motivate teachers, provide the basis for sound financial and personnel planning and minimise the risk of grievance and discrimination.
  • The checklist sets out the minimum requirements for an effective pay policy and is entirely consistent with the revised statutory provisions for teachers' pay due to take effect from 1 September 2013.
  • The publication of the NUT and NASUWT joint checklist does not represent an acceptance of changes to the teachers' pay system introduced or proposed by the Department for Education.  
  • The school is committed to the principle of pay portability and will apply this principle in practice when making new appointments.
  • Teachers will be awarded pay progression on the Main Pay Range following a successful performance management / appraisal review. 
  • Teachers who apply to move to the Upper Pay Range from point six of the Main Pay Range will be awarded progression to that Range having regard to the two most recent performance management / appraisal reviews. 
  • Teachers will be awarded pay progression on the Upper Pay Range following two successful performance management / appraisal reviews. 
  • (In all the cases above) Reviews will be deemed to be successful unless significant concerns about standards of performance have been raised in writing with the teacher during the annual performance management / appraisal cycle and have not been sufficiently addressed through support provided by the school by the conclusion of that process.

  • Teachers on the Main Pay Range will be paid on the 6 point scale on the Main Pay Range - and teachers on the Upper Pay Range will be paid on the 3 point scale - attached:
  • The salary values contained in the above scales reflect the 2012 STPCD pay scales. A pay award is pending. The school is committed to award a minimum one per cent pay uplift to all existing pay points and allowances for all teachers from September 2013 and to a greater award if that is the outcome of the School Teachers' Review Body (STRB) pay review process.

There are other important points contained in the full version of the joint checklist. This can be downloaded from:

Regrettably, a glance through an alternative model pay policy, issued by the NAHT, makes clear what a serious battle we are engaged in if we are to protect teachers and education.
Shamefully, given the serious damage that will be inflicted on teacher morale and staff cohesiveness by Gove's performance-pay plans, the NAHT appear to be advising their Headteacher members to recommend to Governors that they accept some of the worst aspects of the new 'flexibilities'

For example:

The NAHT model pay policy does NOT ensure 'pay portability' but will let governors decide what they will pay:
Pay on appointment: "The governing body will determine the starting salary of a vacant classroom teacher post on the main pay range or upper pay range, such as the governing body determines"

The NAHT model pay policy makes clear that even main pay range progression will require teaching to be judged as 'good' by Ofsted. This will leave teachers wide open to victimisation and harsh judgements through subjective observation records, with little or no account being taken of the particular challenges that their classes might present:
"To move up the main pay range, one annual point at a time, teachers will need to have made good progress towards their objectives and have shown that they are competent in all elements of the Teachers’ Standards. Teaching should be ‘good’, as defined by Ofsted.

If this is the 'standard' the NAHT says that teachers will have to meet to be awarded annual pay progression on the Main Pay Range - which has, rightly up to now, been almost automatic for main scale teachers - imagine what standards will be set by some Headteachers for 'crossing the threshold' and for Upper Pay Range progression!
The NAHT policy states that: "Appraisal objectives will become more challenging as the teacher progresses up the main pay range".

Just like the DfE model policy, the NAHT model policy also ratchets up the requirements on staff seeking to progress to the UPS. The NAHT policy now makes progression to UPS1 dependent on requirements more like some schools previously set for UPS3, particularly in terms of the need to show 'wider impact' across the school. The teacher will be required to show that they are "highly competent in all elements of the relevant standards; and that the teacher’s achievements and contribution to the school are substantial and sustained". In this school, this means: 
“highly competent”: the teacher’s performance is assessed as having excellent depth and breadth of knowledge, skill and understanding of the Teachers’ Standards in the particular role they are fulfilling and the context in which they are working.
“substantial”: the teacher’s achievements and contribution to the school are significant, not just in raising standards of teaching and learning in their own classroom, or with their own groups of children, but also in making a significant wider contribution to school improvement, which impacts on pupil progress and the effectiveness of staff and colleagues.

Let there be no doubt that we are involved in a fierce battle to defend teachers and education. Every teacher needs to prepare for urgent action, starting straight away with the battle to win an acceptable pay policy.

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