HC Deb 23 March 2000 vol 346 cc1098-9
4. Valerie Davey (Bristol, West)

What further encouragement by way of pay awards and training the Government will offer to develop further teachers' classroom skills in addition to the pay threshold. [114600]

The Minister for School Standards (Ms Estelle Morris)

Regular performance reviews will inform professional development. Outstanding teachers will be able to gain two points a year on the main pay spine. Teachers above the threshold will be eligible for further performance points, at the discretion of the governing body, for sustained and substantial improvement. We are also developing an awards scheme for excellent and improving schools and a new national strategy for continuous professional development.

Valerie Davey

I thank my right hon. Friend for that positive response. Will she tell the House approximately how many experienced teachers are able to apply to go through the threshold and would potentially benefit from the awards that she has outlined?

Ms Morris

Slightly fewer than 240,000 teachers are stuck at point 9 on the salary scale. All those teachers would be eligible for threshold assessment this summer. If they pass—we have always said that over time we expect the majority of eligible teachers to pass—they will receive an immediate salary increase of £2,000 and access to a further pay spine, where performance points will be available to them for good classroom teaching, rather than taking on management responsibilities. For the first time in the pay structure for teachers, good classroom teaching itself will be recognised and rewarded. Our best teachers will no longer have to leave the classroom to take on administrative responsibilities to receive an increase in their salary.

Mr. Graham Brady (Altrincham and Sale, West)

Is the Minister aware that schools in Trafford will not be able to afford to give additional encouragement to teachers, which they may want to do, because the Labour council has refused to give any funding to the schools to implement the Government's post-16 curriculum changes? Given that the Government said that the scheme would cost £35 million a year nationally, and that Trafford schools say that the cost will be £400,000 a year for them, how can they be expected to implement the changes without the funding being passed on to them?

Ms Morris

I have never heard anything so ridiculous in my life. The hon. Gentleman is a regular attender of education debates and he knows that the money will come directly from Government after the assessment of teachers has been made. It is important that we give a clear message to teachers that if they apply for the threshold and are successful, they will receive the £2,000 increase. It is nothing to do with the money that is now in the school budget. It is extra money—an extra £2,000 per teacher—that will come from the Government. I am sure that the hon. Gentleman would have taken the opportunity to recognise that the schools in his constituency will receive their fair share of the money announced by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer on Tuesday. That, as well as the £2,000 that will be paid out to successful teachers, means that schools throughout Trafford will have more money next year than they ever had under the Conservative Government.

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