NEU advice on commonly encountered situations
Progression to and on the Upper Pay Range
Teachers on the Upper Pay Range (UPR) must and therefore should be considered for progression annually.
The STPCD states at para 12.2 that “Any pay increase … awarded to a teacher on the main pay range [or] the upper pay range … or any movement between those pay ranges must be permanent for as long as the teacher remains employed within the same school”. There is no provision which allows a teacher to agree to, or be compelled to, surrender their entitlement to be paid on the UPR as a consequence of any appraisal or pay decision.
Progression to the UPR does not alter the professional duties or obligations of teachers. In particular, the STPCD statutory guidance states that teachers’ contractual obligation to contribute to curriculum development “does not mean that they can be expected to take on the responsibility of, and accountability for, a subject area or to manage other teachers without appropriate additional payment. Responsibilities of this nature should be part of a post that is in the leadership group or linked to a post which attracts a TLR1 or TLR2”. Teachers should not be required to take on additional duties without appropriate payment; and pay progression decisions should not be based on their performance of additional responsibilities which they have been required to take on without appropriate additional payment.
Teachers denied pay progression in previous years
Any teacher who is eligible for, but does not receive, pay progression is entitled to be considered again for progression the following year, by virtue of their right to an annual pay assessment.
Teachers who have not been subject to appraisal
In most cases, governing bodies will be able to take pay decisions by reference to the appraisal reviewer’s recommendation. In some cases this will not be appropriate or possible e.g where the appraisal process has not been completed due to maternity leave, extended sick leave or secondment or where previous schools have not provided information about appraisal reviews.
The DfE has made it clear in its pay advice, however, that denying progression in such circumstances is unfair and can constitute unlawful discrimination.
The NEU advises, therefore, that in all such circumstances pay decisions should be taken by reference to such information as is available. Governors may need to consider information from only one appraisal review or from whatever part of the appraisal cycle when the teacher was present. In extreme circumstances, the decision might be taken on the basis that the teacher’s performance might have been expected to have been maintained throughout the appraisal period in question; or postponed until information is available from the following school year and then backdated. Where a governing body acts in this way, complaints of unfair treatment and possible unlawful discrimination are less likely to arise.
Teachers on maternity or extended sick leave or otherwise absent during the period
The DfE’s pay advice confirms that such teachers are entitled to consideration for pay progression in the same way as other teachers, whether or not they have returned to service at the date of the annual pay determination. In such cases, however, it is particularly likely that appraisal reviews may not have been completed and the governing body may not have any reviewer’s recommendation to consider.
The NEU therefore advises that pay decisions should be taken by reference to such information as is available. This might include information from the most recent appraisal review or any part of the appraisal period when the teacher was present.
Failure to consider progression in this way could clearly constitute less favourable treatment on the basis of gender or disability and leave the governing body open to complaints of unlawful direct discrimination.
Teachers who have recently moved posts
Any teachers who move post with effect from 1 September or during the previous year are still entitled to be assessed for pay progression, even if they have not taken part in appraisal at their current school. The STPCD requirements on annual pay assessments apply to all teachers who have “completed a year of employment since the previous annual pay determination” (para 19.1) and are not restricted to teachers who have completed a year’s employment at the particular school.
The NEU advises that the following approach should be adopted:
- The teacher’s starting pay should (where appropriate) be calculated according to the school’s pay policy, preferably maintaining the teacher’s previous salary in line with the principle of pay portability;
- A further decision should then be taken on pay progression according to the criteria set out in the pay policy.
The STPCD previously required head teachers to seek evidence from the teacher’s previous head teacher to inform pay progression decisions. Although the STPCD no longer includes that advice, the NEU continues to support this approach. Where such evidence supports pay progression, this should be accepted. Where information is not forthcoming, the decision should be based on such information as is available or deferred to allow information to be obtained relating to the present post.
Teachers moving from other sectors
When teachers move from other sectors, governing bodies can take relevant experience, both within and outside teaching, into account when determining starting pay. The school pay policy should cover this.
Teachers with more than one post
Some teachers hold two or more posts and are employed simultaneously on, for example, two separate regular part-time contracts with different schools.
Where progression is being considered in such situations, a decision in one school will not legally bind that in the other. However, schools may agree to accept decisions taken by schools where the teacher spends the majority of their time. This can be part of the school pay policy. Where pay progression is being considered, the common sense solution is for a decision to be taken in the school in which the teacher works most of the time and adopted in the other school as well. A decision in one school does not legally bind the decision in the other school, however, so in such cases it is possible for a teacher to progress to a higher pay point in one school than in the other.
Supply teachers employed by LAs or by governing bodies are entitled to an annual pay determination and consideration for pay progression in the same way as other teachers. They are not, however, entitled to be paid at any particular pay scale point when taking up any new engagement, due to the abolition of pay portability, which will significantly harm their ability to retain pay entitlements or progress up the pay scales. Further information on supply teachers pay entitlement (LINK) is available here.
Unattached teachers employed by LAs
The STPCD’s provisions on annual pay determinations and pay progression apply to unattached teachers (ie teachers employed in LA central services or in pupil referral units) in the same way as other teachers. They should be applied in the same way as for teachers employed in schools. The body responsible for pay decisions may be the local authority or a management committee. The pay decision should be in such cases be delegated to an appropriate panel or individual but should not be taken by the line manager who undertakes the teacher’s appraisal review and makes the pay recommendation. If appraisal is not taking place, teachers are still entitled to be considered for pay progression as set out above.
NEU support for members
The NEU is determined that all teachers should be treated fairly and equitably with regard to pay progression. NEU representatives should seek confirmation from the head teacher that pay decisions will be taken and notified by 31 October. They should also ask the head teacher to issue information about the process for pay progression decisions as soon as possible after the start of the academic year.
Failure to take pay decisions
In such cases, NEU representatives or NEU members individually should seek assurances from the head teacher that pay decisions will take place as required by the STPCD and will be taken in accordance with the statutory provisions and school pay policy criteria which match NEU policy.
Where arrangements for pay decisions appear to contradict the statutory provisions and the NEU’s advice, NEU representatives or NEU members individually should seek advice from the Union using our (LINK) contact us details.
Decisions that teachers will not progress
NEU members who have been informed that they will not progress will need to consider whether they wish to appeal and if so on what basis. Any member who wishes to appeal should consult the (LINK) NEU guidance on pay appeals. You should register your appeal within the timetable set by the school pay policy and you should use the (LINK) NEU model letters to register the appeal and ask for relevant information in writing.