Voice Official Response 2036: STRB 23rd Report and response of Secretary of State

Voice's OR to School Teachers' Review Body report and SoS's response

 


CONSULTATION ON THE 23rd REPORT OF THE SCHOOL TEACHERS’ REVIEW BODY

 

Voice is pleased to submit a written response to the Consultation on the STRB’s 23rd Report.  We also thank the DFE for the opportunity to meet with officials to discuss the report and our reactions to its recommendations.  This summary of our views should be considered alongside the notes made at that meeting.

Leadership Pay

Given the changes made to classroom teachers’ pay as a result of the recommendations of the STRB’s 21st Report we were unsurprised to see this same approach extended to the pay of the leadership group.  As we have expressed in evidence to the STRB and elsewhere, Voice is apposed to the removal of spine points within the pay bands.  We remain convinced that this will have the unintended consequence of decelerating pay progression for teachers and lead to very divergent practice in different schools.  We, alongside all our other union colleagues, foresee the very real danger of an explosion of pay appeals and equal pay related casework when the first decisions under the new system are made in September 2014.

That said, and given the introduction of the banding structure for teachers, we can see the merit in adopting a similar approach for the leadership group, thereby ensuring consistency across the pay framework.  Teacher members rightly felt aggrieved that major changes were being made to their pay progression whilst the leadership group appeared to remain untouched.  This uniform approach does at least have the advantage of fairness and consistency.

As we highlighted in evidence to the Review Body, changes to the pay structure of the leadership group were definitely overdue, based as it was on the “one head one school” model.  Accordingly, we welcome the changes which enable governing bodies to take into account a wide range of factors when determining headteacher and other leadership group pay and job weight.  We feel that the 3 step process that the Review Body has put forward to assist governors in assessing job weight and therefore salary levels is a good one.  However, as we pointed out in our discussions, this has an implication for the training and professional advice made available to governing bodies.  This will be crucial if the system is to be made to work.

Voice supports the removing of the rigid pay differentials for members of the leadership group.  In recent years our casework has evidenced for us how problematic these have proved, especially in smaller schools where a teacher stepping up from UPS3 and possibly a TLR to a Deputy Headship has received very little salary increase.  This works against succession planning and encouraging future school leaders.

We are unsure as to whether benchmarking data will help governing bodies in making decisions as, as the STRB’s commissioned research demonstrates, finding roles in the private sector which equate to school leadership is difficult and even comparisons with similar sized schools in the same area can only go so far.  We are of the view that specialist advice, including HR advice will be of more use to governors when determining pay levels and levels of incremental progression.

Although the Report recommends that the new arrangements are used only for new appointments, nevertheless many leadership group members will be eligible for incremental progression from September 2014 onwards and so we believe that similar transitional arrangements should be made as was the case with classroom teachers, ie September 2014 pay determinations to be done under the 2013 document.

Allowances

We are very pleased that the Review Body has decided to retain the current system of TLRs.  This system is not yet 10 years old and works well, the only ongoing problem being the lack of TLRs in primary schools.  We support the removal of the differentials.  These have proved something of a straitjacket and without them schools may be in a position to incorporate more TLRs into their staffing structures.

We agree that the Chartered London Teacher Scheme, which was never very successful anyway, has run its course and been overtaken by Teach First and other initiatives.  Transitional arrangements will be needed for those currently working towards the award. 

Safeguarding

Voice agrees with the Review Body that the current 3 year safeguarding arrangements for teachers remain appropriate.  We were indeed surprised by the statistics which show how few teachers are actually on a safeguarded salary!

Non Pay Conditions

Voice fully supports the retention of the current 195 days and 1265 hours directed time and the core non-pay conditions introduced as a result of the National Agreement.  These, particularly PPA time have made a major difference to teachers conditions of service.  We agree that in an ideal world all schools and school leaders would behave professionally and want to ensure the best conditions of service for their staff.  However, our case work reminds us again and again that we are not in this Utopia and for that reason guidance continues to be required.  Therefore we do not support the removal of Section 4 from the STPCD.  This has often been a useful “lever” where our members schools have not been honouring their contractual rights.

The removal of Annex 3, the so-called “21 tasks” is also a concern.  In larger schools where administrative systems are well embedded this may well make no difference.  But schools are always looking for ways to save money and, as a union for the whole education team, our fear is that one way of saving money may be to transfer these tasks back to teachers with the loss of support staff jobs.

 


Further information

Written ministerial statement by the Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove on the School Teachers' Review Body's 23rd report  and his detailed response.

The STRB's 23rd report 2014


Contact:

Deborah Simpson
Principal Officer (Pay & Conditions)
Email: deborahsimpson@voicetheunion.org.uk