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Teachers Pay Monday, 29 May, 2000, 01:28 GMT 02:28 UK
Heads under pressure over pay
teacher, anon, in secondary school class
Head teachers have to assess all teachers applying for performance-related pay
A head teachers' union has said the "massive workload" caused by the new performance-related pay system is putting heads under "immense pressure".

Under the scheme, head teachers have to assess staff aiming for the 2,000 pay rise and access to a higher pay scale.

The Secondary Heads Association (SHA) estimates that this task will mean an extra 80 hours' work for heads of average-sized secondary schools during the second half of the summer term - an already extremely busy time in the school year.

John Dunford
John Dunford: "The pressure on heads is immense"

Earlier this year, the government announced that head teachers of larger secondary schools, where 40 or more staff were aiming to pass through the performance-related pay threshold, would get extra time to carry out their appraisals.

These heads now have until the autumn half-term holiday to complete the process.

But head teachers of schools where fewer than 40 teachers are applying for the pay rise must complete their assessments by 31 July.

Lengthy process

The deadline for teachers to submit their applications is 5 June.

SHA general secretary John Dunford said: "The pressure on heads to deliver the government reforms is immense.

"Secondary heads already work, on average, a 60 to 70-hour week. The first set of threshold assessments, for which half of the teaching profession is eligible to apply, makes a substantial addition to the normal responsibilities of head teachers."

He said that teachers "have rightly included a mass of information in their applications", and that heads had to go through a lengthy process to check every detail and ensure all claims were backed by evidence.

"This will create considerable additional work for other senior staff too," he said.

Grievance fears

Mr Dunford said additional pressure had been placed on head teachers by the requirement that threshold application forms, including heads' comments and judgements, be returned to teachers at the end of the process.

Heads feared this would lead to teachers seeking grounds for grievance against them.

He said: "SHA has encouraged heads and teachers to operate the new system as simply as possible, and I anticipate that the vast majority of teachers will pass the threshold assessment, but the implications for the workload on heads and senior staff must be recognised."

Last week, two teaching unions, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, and the National Union of Teachers, joined forces to call for the government to extend the application deadline for performance-related pay.

They said the deadline was too early, especially as this was the first year of the new pay system, and that it should be extended by a month.

They said this would give more teachers the chance to pass through the threshold.

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See also:

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