Teachers to be given £2,000 bonus by Easter in line for backdated rise after review

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Nearly 200,000 teachers will receive backdated payrises by Easter, seven months after they were promised, the Government announced yesterday.

Nearly 200,000 teachers will receive backdated payrises by Easter, seven months after they were promised, the Government announced yesterday.

The increases of £2,000each awarded under the new performance-related pay scheme were delayed by a High Court ruling that David Blunkett, the Secretary of State for Education, had introduced them unlawfully.

Yesterday, the School Teachers Review Body, which examined the scheme after the court decision, recommended it go ahead. Teachers will have to meet new national criteria to secure the rise. The controversial clause that says rises should be linked to pupils' results remains, but teachers will be allowed to ask for a review of heads' decisions.

Secondary heads reacted angrily to the concession that lets teachers ask for a review. They said it would mean another needless layer of bureau-cracy. But the National Union of Teachers, which brought the court case against the Government, said it was a victory. Doug McAvoy, its general secretary, said it deplored the use of payment by results but added: "It will provide protection for the 197,000 teachers in England who have applied this year, all teachers in Wales who apply this year and all teachers who apply in the future."

Mr Blunkett, who accepted the review body's recommendations, said the report was good news for the 200,000 teachers in England who had applied. "It is our clear commitment to resume this process as quickly as possible, so teachers can get the pay rise they deserve."

John Dunford, general secretary of the Secondary Heads Association, pointed out that heads' decisions about whether teachers should receive the rise were already checked by external assessors.

"It is the headteachers who know the work of their staff and we were opposed to giving external assessors the final judgement in the first place. Now we have a situation that is even worse and we would be looking for another review next year."

A government spokesman said teachers would be able to secure a review of heads' decisions if they could show the external assessor had failed to take into account evidence in an application. All the criteria required to secure a pay rise will be reviewed in 2002.

Nigel de Gruchy, general secretary of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, attacked the NUT for delaying teachers' pay rises. "The delay was unnecessary. We need to discuss the link between pay and pupil progress, but that would be better achieved by dialogue, not litigation."

Ministers will now consult on the proposals.

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