David Hart, general secretary NAHT comments:
'NAHT members have told us loud and clear that the Pay and Performance Management System, proposed by the government, is simply not manageable unless significant conditions are met. All accept that no change is not an option. We know that this is the only opportunity before 2002 to invest£1billion in teachers' pay. But, the system has to be workable, and professionally acceptable, otherwise it will only damage further an already dire recruitment situation. The government understands only too well that it depends entirely on heads and deputies for the delivery of this system. I am sure that this is not lost on government and that it will wish to respond positively to the views of the senior management in schools.'
Copy of letter to David Blunkett:
NAHT RESPONSE TO GREEN PAPER AND TECHNICAL PAPER ON PAY AND PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT
I enclose a copy of the NAHT's response.
We represent virtually every Special School, some 85% of all Primary School and nearly 50% of all Secondary School, Heads plus over 10,000 Deputy Heads. We have organised 12 Regional Meetings on the Green Paper, attended by well over 2000 heads and deputies. Our Response, which was approved by our National Council on 17 March 1999, accordingly is well informed.
The conclusion we have reached is that our members will not be in a position to operate the Pay and Performance Management System, outlined in the Green Paper and the Technical Paper, unless the following essential conditions are met:
1. There must be the minimum possible impact on workload and minimal bureaucracy. This has major implications for additional resourcing including provision of non-contact time and staffing to make the system effective.
2. It is the responsibility of government to spell out how this priority policy can be met. Government, LEAs and governing bodies must create a framework which enables heads and deputies properly to undertake their responsibilities. There is no way, for instance, that a new appraisal system can operate from September 1999.
3. Funding must be provided to support all pay decisions, from threshold to heads. It must not be cash limited or the whole system will be undermined.
4. Funding to run the system, and to train and develop the profession for that system, has to be provided by government in addition to that needed for pay decisions.
NAHT has provided costs to your ministerial colleagues and officials.
5. Funding to meet the results of the new appraisal process must be in school budgets on a long term basis. The Standards Fund hasto be used to inject 100% earmarked funding for this purpose, otherwise the new process will be undermined and put at risk the whole of the new system. The lessons of the failure of the current appraisal process must be learned.
The Performance Management System, the Pay Structure and the new contractual arrangements have to be slimmed down. There is a real risk that time spent on running the system will damage, not improve, standards.
6. Assessment criteria must not involve a link between pay and test or exam results. There are serious philosophical and practical objections to payment by results.
7. The role of heads, in relation to governing bodies and external assessors, has to reflect the management responsibilities of heads endorsed by the Green Paper.
8. There must be changes to current retirement arrangements so that heads and deputies, who wish to, can retire early on acceptable terms.
9. The crucial role of the deputy head has to be reinforced in a way not reflected in the Green Paper or in their salary award for 1999. NAHT believes that the Green Paper system is not sustainable in the vast majority of schools without deputy head input.
10. Last, but by no means least, the government must recognise that it was wrong when it said that headteacher responsibilities under the Green Paper were reflected in the 1999 salary award. STRB made no such reference and the government's wholly unjustified 'spin' on the real salary increases received by most heads this year has only made matters worse.
The Green Paper cannot be delivered without heads and deputies. Accordingly, the NAHT wishes to enter into constructive negotiations with the government in order to ensure that the above conditions are met. They are necessary for the provision of a National System which is fair, equitable, open and consistent.