Strategic Implications for Schools
The STRB Report on Leadership Pay and Non–Pay Conditions of Service (24th edition) was published on 13 February 2014. It represents, in our view, a massive missed opportunity, which will leave schools facing increased Ofsted interest in the rationale behind leadership pay progression decisions- not to mention vocal union demands for the same thing – without providing them with any useful tools for doing the job. We are running a series of national courses in early May to highlight the issues for schools and introduce the practical materials we think you will need. School network events are also available from Monday March 3rd.
You can read the complete report here. What follows is not a complete summary but an attempt to draw out the most pressing implications for schools
Leadership Group Pay
For existing leadership group members already in post, there are no real personal implications until the September 2015 pay decision by governors. From September 2014 (as with teachers) fixed leadership pay points will disappear and governors will be able to award differential pay progression based on performance at the end of that appraisal cycle.
Governing bodies will therefore need to satisfy themselves that objective setting is rigorous and the school pay policy provides a clear link between levels of achievement and progression, so as to enable individual judgements on progression awards at the end of the appraisal year. (Para 2.75)
We propose that governing bodies seek HR advice and use available benchmarking data to guide them in exercising their judgement; and reinforce the need for minuted, auditable decisions on pay of school leaders. (Para 2.73)
As predicted on our courses last year (and as already demanded by the teaching unions in some secondary schools) the Pay Policy will need to be amended to bring the rules for leadership pay progression into line with those for teachers. This means attempting to develop, as for teachers,
- Some clear expectations of levels of leadership performance for each pay point in the structure
- An audit process – somewhat like our Ofsted Teaching over Time Audit – to ascertain whether or not these are met and identify appropriate professional development appraisal objectives related to what the Ofsted Handbook calls “identified need.”
We have developed an audit based on the draft National College Leadership Standards 2008 which has been well received in our pilot courses.
We have started working on Professional Skills Level Descriptors for Senior Leaders (Leader, Accomplished Leader and Expert Leader); we plan to share and develop this with course attendees.
Longer Term Implications
There will be much greater flexibility for governing bodies to establish a pay range for new senior leadership posts which responds to local circumstances as well as to pupil numbers. The report provides some helpful guidance to governors on how to do this as well as on establishing a fair rate of pay for senior leaders working across a wider group of schools.
All existing rules on minimum pay differentials between different types of post are set to be abolished in line with the key principle of providing maximum flexibility
The key challenge for schools wanting to take advantage of these provisions will be to ensure that they don’t fall into the trap of deciding a salary for a new post without considering how it fits into the overall staffing structure. In reality, as with the limited new flexibilities on TLR’s (see below) it will be wise to make decisions as part of a wider review of leadership structures. In this context, some of the more radical possible changes will hardly be facilitated by the decision to retain 3 Year salary safeguarding
TLR’s and SEN Allowances
TLR 1, 2 and 3 survive as at present. The only significant change is the removal of the requirement that there is a minimum £1500 differential between posts. Schools are unlikely to want to rush to implement this change; those that do will, as above, also need to work in the context of the overall staffing and leadership structure
SEN allowances are unchanged.
This does nothing to help schools address the vastly heightened interest in the quality of middle leadership that springs out of the September 2013 Inspection Handbook. Schools are coming under as much pressure from inspectors to show how they are systematically improving the quality of leadership as they are the quality of teaching.
It would have been very helpful if the STRB had recommended the development of some National Standards for TLR Holders. In the absence of these, schools will need to find a way of auditing the quality of middle leadership and relating leadership and management appraisal objectives to the outcome of this process. On our course, we plan to
- Share two different audit approaches that can work successfully
- Explain how pay progression for TLR holders is based on their overall performance in post and how it is possible to withhold progression from someone who is an excellent teacher but a disappointing leader
No change – three year safeguarding survives!
Non pay Conditions
- 195 days and 1265 hours retained
- Rarely Cover and PPA time survive
- Removal of the list of 21 ‘Admin Tasks’ from the Pay & Conditions Document
Summary – What Schools Need To Do in 2014
Michael Gove’s immediate acceptance of the STRB’s recommendations – many of which directly contradict the radical steer he provided – suggest that he does not have the appetite for broadening his war with the teacher unions at present (and indeed may have set his heart on a change of job!)
With dramatic change is off the agenda, schools should focus on ensuring that they have robust procedures in place for making performance-related pay progression decisions for teachers in September 2014 and for senior leaders in September 2015. To do this, they need to ensure they have
- Clear expectations of expected levels of performance for teachers and for leaders at each pay point
- A robust audit procedure for establishing whether or not these are met – with appraisal objectives relate to the outcomes
- A system for providing governors with anonymised information on underperforming teachers and leaders identified through this process – with regular updates on the impact of support provided through the appraisal process
Our conference centre and network courses are aimed at making sure you are doing the right thing for teachers in 2014 – and have the extra materials you will need to work with middle and senior leaders in 2015.