HC Deb 01 February 1999 vol 324 cc487-9W
Mr. Fitzpatrick

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will make a statement on the report of the School Teachers Review Body. [68914]

Mr. Blunkett

The 1999 report of the School Teachers' Review Body has been published today. Copies are available in the Vote Office and the Library. I am grateful to the Chairman and members of the Review Body for their work.

In the Comprehensive Spending Review, the Government made it clear that public sector pay settlements would need to be fair, affordable, and consistent with the targets for public service improvements we have set. That is why new arrangements were announced in the CSR for the Pay Review Bodies, designed to ensure a closer and more effective link between pay settlements and departmental expenditure limits and service delivery targets. As part of these arrangements, the Prime Minister asked the School Teachers' Review Body to ensure that, in making its recommendations, four key considerations set out in the CSR were taken into account: recruitment, retention and motivation of the groups concerned the requirements on Departments to meet their output targets for the delivery of services requirements on departments to stay within their three year expenditure limits, and the Government's inflation target, requiring responsibility in pay settlements across the public and private sectors.

I am satisfied that the recommendations meet these considerations. Accordingly I have decided to accept the Review Body's main recommendations to restructure the pay of headteachers from September, at a cost of 0.1% of the total teacher paybill in 1999–2000 and 0.2% in a full year, and to award a general increase of 3.5% to the pay of all teachers from 1 April. The full cost of the settlement in 1999–2000 will be 3.6%. This will be affordable within my Department's Expenditure Limits announced in the CSR in July (Cm 4011), and is fully consistent with the targets for improved services set out in my Department's Public Service Agreement published in December (Cm 4181). It is in line with the Government's prudent and disciplined approach to public spending and its commitment to deliver high quality public services and low inflation.

The restructuring of headteachers' pay is necessary to enable schools, especially small primary schools, to recruit, retain and motivate headteachers of the quality that we need to improve standards of education. It recognises the role headteachers will play in making the proposals in the Green Paper "Teachers: Meeting the Challenge of Change" work, and it recognises the responsibility headteachers have always had for managing and improving the performance of their teachers and schools. The Review Body makes it clear that headteachers' pay should be linked to their performance against agreed targets, with no automatic increases. It recommends improvements in the performance management and review mechanism for headteachers and I propose those improvements, subject to consultation, with effect from September 1999.

I am grateful to the Review Body for recommending a general increase at a level which is fair and which I can implement without staging. I hope teachers will welcome the fact that they will receive their pay increase in full on 1 April this year.

The Green Paper published in December 1998 set out the Government's wide-ranging proposals for modernising and strengthening the teaching profession. An extensive consultation is now underway. This current pay settlement is an excellent springboard for the further changes from September 2000 which I hope to put in place following the consultation, and the continuing advice of the Review Body. These changes will make the teaching profession better paid and more attractive, and they will also create better links between pay and performance. I welcome the Review Body's constructive approach to the need to reward good performance, and I look forward to next year's exercise extending this approach to the determination of the pay of all teachers.

I will not initiate consultation with the teacher associations, the employers' organisations and other interested parties, as required under section (2)1 of the School Teachers' Pay and Conditions Act 1991, before I make provision by order for teachers' pay and conditions in 1999–2000.