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Unattached teachers

This guidance summarises the position in respect of pay and conditions for unattached teachers employed by local authorities in England and Wales.

What pay and conditions arrangements apply to “unattached teachers”?

“Unattached teachers” are teachers employed by local authorities in central capacities. Most unattached teachers are, in fact, attached, albeit to services or units rather than schools. They are employed in accordance with the provisions of the School Teachers' Pay and Conditions Document (STPCD) in England and the School teachers’ pay and conditions (Wales) document and the Burgundy Book agreement.

Until recently, unlike teachers employed in mainstream schools, unattached teachers did not enjoy the full protection of the STPCD pay provisions. Instead, their pay was determined by reference to “whichever” pay provisions of the STPCD were considered appropriate by the local authority - which was able to disapply provisions in the STPCD that would apply to all other teachers.

The NEU has repeatedly voiced its concern that there was no good reason to treat unattached teachers differently. The Union’s persistence paid off in 2016, when the STPCD was changed now stating that “The remuneration of an unattached teacher must be determined in accordance with the relevant provisions of this Document by the relevant body, having regard to its pay policy and the teacher’s particular post within the staffing structure.” (STPCD, paragraph 39 – Unattached Teachers)

The full provisions of the Document apply, depending only on whether the teacher’s post is that of a leadership teacher, other qualified teacher or unqualified teacher.

Evidence has shown that rates of pay progression are lower among unattached teachers than among teachers in schools. In addition, they are not as likely to receive additional payments such as TLR payments and SEN/ALN allowances.

Some unattached teachers have been denied progression because appraisal has not taken place. All unattached teachers should be subject to appraisal by a relevant manager. Others have been denied progression because no policy exists. This again is not a valid reason for denying progression.

Unattached teachers should receive TLR payments which fairly reflect additional responsibilities. In some cases, unattached teachers have been told by their employers that they do not qualify for TLR payments or do not qualify for them at the higher TLR 1 level. This is not true. There have again been problems in that the statutory criteria for TLR payments are related too closely to the circumstances of teachers attached to and working in schools but this does not prevent their award to unattached teachers.

The equivalent allowance in Wales is called the Additional Needs Allowance (ALN).

The STPCD makes it clear that unattached teachers are entitled to receive SEN/ALN allowances where appropriate – see the specific criteria at section 2 Guidance, paragraph 21 of the STPCD, which, inter alia, states that “the relevant body must award a SEN allowance to a classroom teacher: a) in any SEN post that requires a mandatory SEN qualification(9) and involves teaching pupils with SEN; b) in a special school; c) who teaches pupils in one or more designated special classes or units in a school or, in the case of an unattached teacher, in a local authority unit or service”.

Further resources

Soulbury officers

Advice on pay, conditions of service and other matters for Soulbury employees.

Sixth form colleges

Teachers' pay and working conditions in sixth form colleges are decided in negotiations with the Sixth Form Colleges’ Association; the NEU leads the teachers’ side in negotiations.

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