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School Teachers Review Body (23rd Report)

Volume 575: debated on Thursday 13 February 2014

The 23rd report of the School Teachers Review Body (STRB) is being published today. Its recommendations cover the issues that were referred to it in April 2013—leadership pay; allowances; provisions relating to safeguarding; and teachers’ non-pay terms and conditions. The recommendations seek to continue the process of reform that had begun with the STRB’s 23rd report on classroom teachers’ pay with a view to producing a framework of pay and conditions that will raise the status of the teaching profession, and support the recruitment and retention of high-quality teachers and school leaders.

I am grateful for the consideration which the STRB has given to these important matters and fully support the guiding principle of increased flexibility for schools within a simplified and consistent national framework that it has used as the basis for its recommendations. Copies of the STRB’s 23rd report are available in the Vote Office, the Printed Paper Office and the Libraries of both Houses, and online at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-education

The STRB has made recommendations that seek to build on the reforms to teachers’ pay and provide a framework for leadership pay that is consistent with that for classroom teachers. It proposes greater autonomy for schools to determine the appropriate level of pay depending on the circumstances of each post and additional flexibility within the national pay framework to reflect the changing nature of school leadership, including recognition of the most demanding roles. It also proposes greater freedom in setting the levels of allowances, the simplification of salary safeguarding provisions and the removal of unnecessary detailed guidance on non-pay conditions.

I am grateful to the STRB for these recommendations and, subject to the views of consultees, I intend to accept all the key recommendations.

My detailed response contains further information on these matters.

Annex to written ministerial statement

School Teachers Review Body’s (STRB’s) recommendations and response from the Secretary of State for Education.

[The following sets out the full set of recommendations from the STRB as published in the 23rd report (CM 8813) on 13 February 2014, together with the response from the Secretary of State for Education.]

The 23rd report of the STRB is being published today. It covers matters referred to the STRB in April 2013. Copies are available in the Vote Office, the Printed Paper Office and in the Libraries of both Houses and online at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-education

In making its recommendations, the STRB was asked to consider:

how to provide a simplified and flexible framework for ensuring school leaders’ pay is appropriate to the challenge of the post and their contribution to their school or schools;

how the current detailed provisions for allowances, other pay flexibilities and safeguarding could be reformed to allow a simpler and more flexible STPCD; and

how the framework for teachers’ non-pay conditions of service could be reformed to raise the status of the profession and support the recruitment and retention of high-quality teachers, and raise standards of education for all children.

I am grateful for the in-depth consideration which the STRB has given to these important matters. I am inviting comments on the STRB’s report and my response to its recommendations by 13 March 2014.

The STRB has recommended:

Leadership pay framework

A simple three-stage process to guide governing bodies in setting pay for heads and wider leadership group, taking account of challenge of the role.

Relevant allowances to be subsumed into the pay setting arrangements for base pay.

The removal of unnecessary rigidities in form of spine points and differentials.

Pay progression that better reflects individual performance, for the leadership group.

Continuing scope for governing body discretion to set pay 25% above the broad bands, and exceptionally beyond if supported by a business case.

Providing formal headroom above the current leadership range for the biggest leadership roles in large multiple schools.

Scope for fixed-term contracts in limited circumstances with provision for reward linked to delivery of specified outcomes.

Allowances

The existing broad framework of TLR payments be retained, with removal of the current provisions relating to differential levels of TLR payments within schools.

The SEN allowance be retained unchanged.

The chartered London teacher scheme be abolished with transitional arrangements for teachers already registered.

The unqualified teachers’ allowance, acting allowance and performance payments to seconded teachers and payments for residential duties and additional payments be retained, with amendment as necessary consequential on the changes to leadership pay.

Recruitment and retention benefits and incentives to be retained as a separate allowance for teachers, but be limited to housing/relocation allowances for head teachers and other members of the leadership group where pay has been set under the new arrangements.

A discretionary payment may only be made to head teachers for additional responsibilities undertaken on a temporary or irregular basis.

The General Teaching Council for Wales’ fee allowance be retained.

The Department consider simplification of the presentation of allowances in a revised STPCD.

Safeguarding

The Department should bring together the current safeguarding provisions into one simplified section of the STPCD.

Non-pay recommendations

The core provisions in section 2 be retained, but the list of 21 administrative and clerical tasks at annex 3 to section 2 be removed from the STPCD.

The section 4 guidance be removed from the STPCD.

The existing statements of professional responsibilities for teachers be retained.

I am grateful to the STRB for its consideration of the issues and, subject to consultees’ views, I intend to accept all these recommendations. I regard them as providing the framework to move towards a more flexible and simpler system, where the emphasis is on less unnecessary detailed prescription and greater autonomy for schools in deciding how to reward their head teachers.

The recommendations to remove the list of 21 administrative and clerical tasks and the section 4 guidance are particularly welcome. They will not only contribute towards the Government’s objective of reducing unnecessary guidance and of simplifying and shortening the overall STPCD, but they will also provide greater flexibility for teachers and school leaders to use their professional judgement in exercising their professional responsibilities and as such represent an important step in the reform of teachers’ conditions of employment.

In addition to its recommendations, the STRB has made a number of suggestions about the timing and handling of the implementation of changes to leadership pay and to TLRs, including that these changes should be applied by schools as and when appointments are made or when responsibilities change. It has also made a number of observations about governance. I will want to ensure that alongside greater flexibilities there are sensible controls to avoid excessive payments and wage inflation. I would welcome consultees’ views on all these points.

Finally I will want to ensure that we have had due regard to equalities considerations before confirming the Government’s response. I would welcome consultees’ views on these matters also.