HC Deb 13 March 1997 vol 292 cc295-7W
Mr. Peter Bottomley

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what is the outcome of the consultation on her proposals to accept the School Teachers Review Body's recommendations for a 3.3 per cent. increase for teachers. [20614]

Mrs. Gillian Shephard

I am today confirming that I am accepting the School Teachers Review Body's recommendation to increase teachers' pay by 3.3 per cent. This award will be staged so that teachers will receive 2 per cent. on 1 April 1997 and the remainder on 1 December 1997. I will lay an order before Parliament which will give the values of the new spine points, scale and allowances with effect from 1 April 1997 and 1 December 1997.

I am writing to the teacher associations, the National Employers Organisation for School Teachers and the head teachers and chairmen of governors of all schools in England and Wales notifying them of my decision. Officials will be writing to other interested parties.

I am announcing my confirmation of the pay award immediately because I want teachers to receive the first stage of their pay increase as soon as possible after 1 April 1997.

I have received a number of representations about the level of the award and the staging of it and considered them carefully. The Government have decided to stage the pay awards for all the review body groups this year. Staging will make it possible to accommodate the costs within spending plans without prejudicing the planned level of service delivery. In addition, staging reflects the Government's view that settlements should be lower this year both generally throughout the public sector and specifically for the pay review body groups. I believe that phasing the increase will make it more manageable for local education authorities and schools.

I have also decided to confirm my other proposals listed, which will come into force from 1 September 1997 by means of revisions to the "School Teachers' Pay and Conditions Document":

  1. (i) the STPCD should be amended to make it clear that sick leave should count as a period of service for the purpose of the award of experience points, but that the award of such points for absences from duty other than for holiday periods and maternity leave should be discretionary;
  2. (ii) within one month of the commencement of a period of absence of a head or a deputy the governing body should be required to consider whether payment of an acting allowance would be appropriate to an individual who is called upon to act as the head or deputy;
  3. (iii) the level of an acting allowance should ensure that the individual receives remuneration equivalent to an appropriate point on the pay spine for heads and deputies, not less than the minimum of the normal range for the school group but not necessarily the same as for a substantive postholder whose salary may reflect factors particular to the individual;
  4. (iv) individuals acting as heads or deputies and in receipt of an acting allowance should be regarded during that time as having the conditions of employment of the post for which they are temporarily being paid;
  5. (v) where teachers in charge of Pupil Referral Units (PRUs) are paid as heads they should be subject to the conditions of employment of heads; and
  6. (vi) where other centrally-based teachers are paid as heads or deputies their conditions of employment should be agreed on a separate contractual basis.

I also confirm the following proposals which are not statutory recommendations because they will not in themselves require changes to be made to the STPCD 1996:

  1. (i) that appropriate guidance should be included in the NEE Circular on the application and management of the obligation of teachers to provide cover for absent colleagues, and the importance of effective management and monitoring of teacher absence;
  2. (ii) guidance should be provided in the DfEE's pay Circular which makes it clear that an acting allowance should be paid from, or backdated to, the time that the individual is called upon to perform functions that require the full authority of the post to be exercised, for example formulating aims and policies or appointing staff;
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  4. (iii) the Circular which accompanies the School Teachers' Pay and Conditions Document should include guidance based on the presumption that teachers in charge of PRUs should be paid as headteachers unless local circumstances make clear this is inappropriate, for example where the PRU is particularly small or part of an organisational structure which makes it different from other PRUs.

Finally, on the STRB's recommendation that teacher governors should not be members of committees which determine the individual levels of pay of heads and deputies at their own school, I decided not to take a decision until after consultation. The arguments are balanced; I have now decided that the question will be considered further in the context of the review of the school government regulations. This will leave the matter as one for local discretion for the time being.