Schools are Affected by Pay Gap Reporting

Note – Editor’s text corrections made 18/01/2018

Do All Schools Have to Publish Gender Pay Gap Reports?

The recent story of a senior BBC employee resigning because of the inequality of her pay hit the headlines and seems to have reinforced the belief that the need to produce a report to show whether or not gender pay gap exists in an organisation is only relevant to higher paid employees.  That is a false view as the requirement applies to schools and many other organisations.

Picture of pay data collection

Collecting pay data for gender pay gap reporting

If a school employs 250 or more employees then the school is likely to be under a duty to collect and report on its pay data to meet the requirements of the Gender Pay Gap Reporting Regulations.

That applies to all forms of schools including:

  • a)  Local Authority maintaned schools – the Governing Body is responsible for collecting and publishing the required data;
  • b)  Pupil Referral Units – the LA is responsible for collecting and publishing the data;
  • c)  Academies and Free schools are within the scope of the regulations and the proprietor is required to collect and publish the data
  • d)  Independent and private schools have to follow the private sector gender pay reporting regulations – the legal employer is responsible.

For schools, 31st March of each year is the reference date on which the data is based.  Publication of the ‘analysed’ data must occur within one year of that date.   For schools in d) above the reference date is 5th April of each year.

First Mandatory Publication Date is in 2018

The first publication date falls in this year so you need to review how prepared you are to produce the required data to publish your school’s report.

The 2018 deadline for publication of your school’s report is 30 March 2018 (which also applies to the majority of public sector organisations) and 4 April 2018  for other organisations.

Remember that Independent and private schools are obliged to publish their report by 4th April 2018.

The Peculiar Situation of a School

Calculating remuneration for the purposes of the regulations is not straight forward for most organisations as specific definitions have to be used when data is calculated.   Schools are likely to encounter some issues with the following types of employees and their contracted hours:

  • Term time only employees such as catering staff;
  • Teaching staff subject to minimum contracted annual hours e.g. required to work a minimum of 1,265 hours over 39 weeks as per the full time hours in the School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document;
  • Head Teachers on an unspecified hours contract i.e. they are required to manage their own working time to fulfil their professional duties.

The task has been made easier by the giving of specific examples for the situations above.  Those examples and the principles can be seen on pages 30 and 31 of the revised booklet produced by ACAS, ‘Managing gender pay reporting’.

Diversity/Equality Reports are Different to Gender Pay Gap Reporting

Do not fall into the mistake of thinking that any diversity or equality data that you have published will suffice.  Such data will not meet the definitions required under the regulations for gender pay gap reports.

Help if Puzzled or Stuck

Where can you go to understand the requirements or seek an answer to a query?
The ACAS booklet is a reasonable source of reference and the related publications of ACAS.  Your HR adviser should also be able to advise you.

If you have a query on the requirements and/or publishing your report, please note that for a short while we shall accept queries, without a charge, if they take a short time to answer.  We will advise you, in advance, if the query will  take too long for this service. Please leave a message about your query by using the ‘chat’ pop up button which will appear on the bottom right hand side of this page.

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Casual and Zero Hours Staff – Restrictions on Contracts

Do you insist that casual or zero hours contracted staff may not work for another employer?

Do you require such staff to obtain permission to work for another employer?

If so, you need to revise your contracts and arrangements as it is now illegal to require such staff to work exclusively for your organisation.

Other changes are also proposed to take sanctions against employers who try to flout the requirement against exclusivity clauses in such contracts. This could affect sessional music teachers, casual instructors and other zero hours contracted staff.

Zero hours contracts are not illegal but you need to understand the principles for such contracts and the practical issues. Read more by clicking on a link to an article (on our sister blog) – Casual/Zero Hours Staff – A Balanced Approach.

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Are your Contractual Terms your Master or Servant?

The need to change the working hours of an individual often leads to disputes amongst both teaching and support staff e.g. changing the days of attendance or spreading the hours over more days. This is usually because the school has failed to become familiar with the terms and/or failed to ensure that its terms of employment provide expressly for this in a clear way. This was re-emphasized recently in a court case [1] and the notes below are a useful reminder of key points which schools need to consider in their circumstances. .

Unsuccessful Aims

The school wished to change the days on which an individual attended work so that the working hours were spread across 5 days rather than the current 3 days to ensure that particular core subjects could always be taught in the morning. Consultation took place but agreement was not reached. The school went ahead and relied upon a clause concerning the variation of hours.

The Court held that was ineffective for this purpose for several reasons including the lack of clarity in the contractual terms.

The school in this case was an independent school but there is a salutary warning for academies and maintained schools in the view of the author as explained below.

Familiarise Yourself with Your Terms

In presenting its case, the school did not appear to:

  • understand whether and how their terms addressed varying the hours or days of attendance of part-time staff;
  • what the related terms actually meant.

A lack of familiarity was a major contributor to the adverse decision of the judge.

This is a basic error which can be very expensive. I recall observing a case regarding a NHS employee in which the question of the suitability of alternative employment arose. At no time did the employer’s representative explain that the national agreement on redundancy defined as suitable a role up to 6 miles away. The case was lost on the distance/time to travel issue simply because the presenter was not familiar with the terms.

Clarify Your Terms

Both academies and independent schools have the power to write bespoke terms into employment contracts and thus ensure that hours can be varied including those of part-time staff. Have you recently read your terms and asked yourself, “do they reflect the needs of the school?”

Even though an academy or independent school may follow the School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document (STPCD), they can still amend those terms to address issues such as the variation of hours and/or days of attendance on a temporary or permanent basis.

Although maintained schools have to apply the STPCD, it is important to understand what restrictions are placed on the Head and the areas of freedom when discussing working hours [2]

Would you like a review of whether your terms about the varying of hours and/or attendance days could be improved? If so, write to the author via this link.

Breach of Terms an Effective Reason for Resignation

The determination of the school to press ahead with changes to the hours led to the employee resigning and claiming a breach of contract and thus constructive dismissal.

The school argued that there were several reasons for the resignation which were not connected with the change of hours proposed. However, the Judge decided, in line with previous Court decisions, that where there is more than one reason why an employee leaves a job the correct approach is to examine whether any of them is a response to the breach, not to see which amongst them is the effective cause.

Review the Effectiveness of your Terms

To avoid prolonged arguments and expensive tribunal claims, reconsider whether your terms of employment on working hours and days are clear and address the likely needs of the school.

Contact the author as noted above if you would like those aspects of your terms reviewed. As noted above you may be lucky and be offered a free review.


[1] Hart v St Mary’s School (Colchester) Ltd UKEAT/0305/14/DM

[2] You may also find the following article useful – Teachers’ Working Hours – Governors’ and Head’s Duties

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Managing An Additional School – Rewarding the Head and Other Affected Teachers *

What options does a Governing Body have to reward their Head Teacher for leading an additional school? This is the second in our series of articles about the changes introduced in the School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document 2014 (STPCD).

The options differ according to whether the change is a:

  • Permanent arrangement;
  • Temporary arrangement e.g. to evaluate whether a permanent federation or collaboration would be beneficial for both schools;
  • Secondment to a school causing concern.

Maintained schools are obliged to apply the terms of STPCD 2014 but academies have the freedom to create their own reward packages which could differ from the points below.

Leading an Additional School on a Permanent Basis

If the second or additional school is a permanent responsibility then the Governors should recalculate the Individual School Range to take account of the total number of pupils at both (all) schools. The method of calculation is set out in sections 6 and 7 of the STPCD 2014.

That should enable the Governors to set a pay range that reflects the demands of the Head Teacher’s role. See our earlier article about the freedom that Governors have to set the actual pay range. {Editor’s note – link to be updated}

Leading an Additional School for a Temporary period

This may arise when the Governing Body is considering a future federation or formal collaboration arrangement with a second or additional school. The Head may be asked to lead the second school for a fixed period so that the Governors, of both schools, can evaluate whether such an arrangement would be beneficial on a permanent basis.

In a temporary situation, the ISR is not changed as the Governing Body may award a temporary allowance to the Head Teacher of up to 25% of the Head’s annual salary.

The payment of the allowance is subject to several conditions:

  • Responsibility for the additional school must not have been taken into account in any salary or allowance increase previously;
  • The 25% cap does not have to take into account specific allowances paid to the Head Teacher – a residential allowance or an allowance for relocation or housing which relate solely to the personal circumstances of the Head.
  • The overall salary and allowances of the head teacher must not exceed 25% above the maximum of the head teacher group unless there are exceptional circumstances. If the Governing Body believe that this limit does not provide an appropriate reward for the Head’s role, the Governors are required to obtain external, independent advice before producing a business case for the full Governing Body to approve.

Governors should note that:

  • The temporary arrangement should not be for more than two years and
  • If the arrangement proves unsatisfactory or expire, neither Governing Body will be required to protect the ‘higher’ allowance/salary as the salary safeguarding provisions do not apply in this type of temporary situation.

Two years can pass rapidly so the Governing Body should consider establishing progress indicators and reviews during the temporary period. Those will help with the final decision as to whether to become a federation etc. and also help to ensure that sufficient time is allowed for the formalities to be concluded by the end of the temporary period.

Rewarding Other Teachers if a Second or Additional School is Taken On

When a Head takes on the the leadership of another school, that may require other teachers to take on additional responsibilities for the same temporary period. Depending on the staffing structure, it may be preferable to adjust the Deputy Head Teacher’s pay range temporarily to take account of the increased responsibilities in the absence of the headteacher.

In some cases, teachers may be required to perform additional obligations. Those teachers may be paid an allowance on a temporary basis but that will depend on the particular circumstances. Such allowances should only be provided to teaching posts which are affected significantly by the change. Section 11 of the Management Notes states, “This will be based on any additional responsibilities attached to the post (not the teacher), which should be recorded. An increase in remuneration should only be agreed where the post accrues extra responsibilities as a result of the head teacher’s enlarged role; it is not automatic.”

Such an allowance for a teacher would not attract salary safeguarding when the temporary period finishes.

Temporary Secondment of Head Teacher to a School Causing Concern

This is the third scenario and the STPCD is gradually reflecting the various situations that arise in the leadership arrangements of schools.

The Head Teacher may be rewarded by the payment of a lump sum. That is subject to an overall cap as the head’s total salary and allowances must not exceed 25% of the salary maximum. Note that this is defined as 25% of the head teacher’s pay group of the school to which the secondment is made.

Payment of the lump sum is conditional on the sum being awarded to recognise, “sustained high quality of performance throughout the secondments” (Section 24.1 of the STPCD).

A variation to the terms of employment of the Head should be produced and set out what will happen at the end of the temporary period i.e the head will return to his former substantive role and also deal with the other issues that often arise in secondments.

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Revising a School’s Pay Structure

[Content revised 28/08/2014]

Where do you start with the need to have a pay policy for your school?  The poly should refer to:

  • Salary progression;
  • Performance related pay;
  • Links to the Teachers’ Standards;
  • Improved outcomes for the children;
  • Motivating staff;
  • The issue of affordability.

Reinforcing the School’s Key Goals

The starting point is not writing your pay policy. The first step is to consider the bigger picture as your pay structure should help to reinforce the service needs of your school and therefore should be designed for that context. Ask yourself what improvements does the school need to accomplish over the next three years, especially in outcomes for pupils? The picture below shows the key elements in the design of a pay structure that reinforces the key goals and recognises the interdependence of the key elements.

Designing a Pay/Reward Structure

Designing a Pay/Reward Structure 

Identifying the key goals of the school has two major benefits:

  • It will be easier for you to extract core objectives that the majority of your teachers will need to focus on.
  • Through their involvement, the Governors should be able to track progress against the important goals and know what measures are appropriate for that purpose. This will help to demonstrate effective governance to Ofsted but also ensure that the school is continuously improving

The Governors and Head Teacher should be involved closely in this so they and the Senior Leadership Team are clear about the future direction; what has to be achieved in each year and how progress will be measured.

Objectives for Staff

The core goals that are essential to meet the service needs should be broken down into manageable objectives and sub objectives for the appropriate year. Those objectives will often be complemented with particular objectives for an individual which together will form the teacher’s personal set of objectives.

Staff appraisal is a topic in itself. This article is focused on designing the pay structure and determining an individual’s pay. However, in a a performance related pay structure you should bear in mind the following;

  • When setting objectives you are legitimising certain behaviours to achieve those ends. Does it matter how staff go about achieving those? If it does, you should consider adding qualitative measures to the objectives to minimise any adverse behavioural outcomes.
  • Are there specific performance measures that every teacher must meet to be assessed as effective? That might, for example, refer to a certain level of improvement of learning outcomes across the school.
  • Be careful about using emotional and inflationary terms such as ‘good’ performance. Organisations find that terms such as ‘effective’ are better.
  • Linking back to the Teachers’ Standards is a requirement but that will require you to consider:
    • What expectations do you have of a teacher in say the first half of the Main Pay Range compared to the second half?
    • What expectations do you have of a teacher at the lower end of the Upper Pay range compared to one at the maximum?
    • Holding a reasonableness workshop of ‘assessors’ to examine and chart those expectations in order to clarify the requirements and facilitate a consistent application.

Designing the Pay Structure

A pay structure is part of your reward and recognition strategy. Pay is important but not the sole motivator for professional staff who are also interested in personal development opportunities and other forms of recognition. I make that statement now so it is not lost as I explain below some elements of putting together a school pay structure.

Your contextyou need to take account of your context when designing a pay structure including:

  • Your school’s goals
  • The freedom you have to take a flexible approach to rewarding staff. The DfE sets the parameters each year such as the minimum and maximum of the pay ranges but you are able to decide on salary progression and the value of an individual’s contribution.
  • Any strong expectations of staff regarding pay increases. New entrants and those who have not reached the maximum of the range will up to now have assumed their pay will increase along the current scales. Depending on the changes you make, will those expectations need to be reshaped or are those so entrenched that your freedom will be limited in the first year or so? The 2014 School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document (STPCD) emphasizes that a teacher who is appraised as good should have an expectation of receiving an increase.
  • Do allowances or other pay supplements form a significant part of staff’s earnings? The Review Body indicated that 27% of primary and 56% of secondary teaches received allowances (1). The 2014 Teachers’ Conditions provides more flexibility for using allowances to reward staff.
  • Can you afford (or not afford) to put more money into the pay budget to focus individuals on important key improvements? Performance related pay assumes a degree of flexibility which is in addition to any general uplift decided by the DfE minimum and maximum of the pay ranges
  • When pay is affected by performance, consistency of assessments is important as staff will make their own value judgements. You should consider training for your assessors of performance and of pay so that objective and consistent decisions are made

With those points in mind let us examine some of the options open to schools for their pay structure from September 2013. We shall discuss the following elements:

  • Progression within pay ranges
  • Putting values to pay markers along the ranges
  • The learning curve and ‘mature’ teaching skills

Progression within Pay Ranges

The current pay scales give individuals an increase of 8% on the Main and 4% on the Upper Scale. Several options are given below for consideration. Some are relatively safe options should you wish to build your own confidence in applying performance related pay.

The DfE will provide the minimum and maximum of the pay ranges. In its submission to the Review Body, the DfE suggested a 1% uplift to the minimum and maximum of the ranges but we shall have to await the conclusions. In the meantime, you can determine the markers (pay reference points) along the new pay ranges. If you wish to develop confidence and balance staff’s expectations of salary progression to which they were looking forward, you may wish to place the markers at similar points to now (allowing for any uplift to the range). That still leaves you with a significant advantage in managing pay and performance as explained below

Main Pay Range – currently your decision is limited to either no rise or a whole one or two point rise. From September, you can adopt one of many options as illustrated below.

Option 1You could mirror a similar arrangement to the current pay scales by establishing 4 markers of 8% each between the minimum and maximum of the range. You could adopt a similar all or nothing approach to the award of a pay rise i.e. an individual could be awarded an increase to the next marker (or two for highly effective performance) or no rise for not achieving the required levels. That is a safe option but denies you the flexibility to deal with the many situations you will need to address.

Option 2if you subscribe to the view that performance related pay is to encourage and reward those who are demonstrating clear progress on objectives, you may wish to implement a structure that gives you more freedom. As in option 1, you would establish 4 markers of a set % each between the minimum and maximum of the range. If an individual has achieved a significant part of his objectives and is committed to achieving the rest, you could award a percentage of the marker point (e.g. 70%) to encourage him to keep on raising performance. Similarly, those demonstrating high on going performance could be awarded more than 100% of the marker point e.g. 150%. The emphasis in the latter case should be on performance that will be sustained as the Teachers’ terms still state that any rise is permanent while the individual remains employed at your school.

This option is more realistic as it gives you the flexibility to take account of the circumstances in which the objectives had to be performed, the degree of success and the individual’s determination to succeed.

Option 3 similar to option 1 except that 9 markers of say 4% each.are established within the minimum and maximum of the range This gives the ability to increase salary by two markers (the same percentage as on the current scales) or by one marker if performance falls in less critical objectives. This option may be suitable in some schools but it does reduce flexibility. Be cautious about adopting this type of option in the hope of saving costs by only awarding one marker. Remember staff will have strong expectations for receiving rises of around the same levels as on the current scales and a policy of lower percentage awards over more years will lead to your salary rates becoming less competitive.

The reality is that when assessing performance you often find that the circumstances and achievements vary so give yourself room to take account of factors such as the degree of success and surrounding circumstances. A structure such as option 2 is more suited to a motivational pay structure..

Upper Pay Range – the two year waiting period before the next pay rise was removed. The current promotion award from the Main to the first point on the Upper Pay Range is circa 8%. The pay range used to have three points of 4% each. Now, you are free to determine progression within the range. One option is to allow for an annual award rather than follow the current biennial award. That would require the creation of 3 markers of 2% each on the range between the minimum and maximum. The cost should be the same as now because each year’s rise will equate to 50% of what formerly would have been the two year increase. As with option 2 above, you may wish to award a lower or higher percentage to take account of the performance achievement.

Valuing the Learning Curve and Experienced Teachers

The options above are relatively safe as they are built around the current structure with added flexibility. Now we shall consider different approach. The current salary structure assumes even percentage rises at each point within the range but does that mask the nature of teaching. In the first few years, a teacher will probably undergo a steep learning curve but by year 3 or 4 they are likely to become fairly well rounded and adept at adjusting their teaching style to different groups and behaviours of groups/individuals.

As enthusiastic as new teachers are, the experience of a teacher, like other professionals, will be determined by the situations to which they have been exposed and how they learn from those situations and apply their skills to differing circumstances. Hence, is there a case that experienced all round teachers should be rewarded with a higher percentage rise from say year 3 or 4 onwards? Should those in the learning curve receive a lower percentage but with the flexibility to award more to those who are highly effective performers even if still in the learning curve?

I realise that lifelong learning is a fact for many but is there a case take a different approach and recognise the difference in skills and performance outcomes of those who have gone through the learning curve and now deliver effective outcomes? I imagine that some will say that they would prefer to motivate the ‘learners’ to reach maturity as quickly as practicable to produce effective outcomes for pupils. The key question here, which some leaders may not be comfortable with at this stage, is whether differentials in the level of the markers should be applied to the ‘learning curve’ and thus release some funds to pay more for the experienced teachers from say the 3rd or 4th Year onwards.

Linked to this is the more searching question – what difference do you expect in terms of performance from a teacher on the mid point compared to one on the maximum? Similarly, what difference do you expect in terms of UPR 1 compared to a UPR 3 teacher? If there are significant differences, should that result in higher percentage increases for those upon whom there are higher expectations?

In the first year of operating the new pay structure, you may feel more confident at keeping the pays structure close to the current pay ranges but the issue of affordability is likely to figure at some stage so be prepared to experiment with different approaches to reinforce performance.

Deciding an Individual’s Pay Rise

This is the point at which all the different elements come together but in some ways this should be a relatively easy decision in view of the evidence you should have to hand from the appraisal process and the flexibility that you have in your pay structure. Key points to bear in mind are:

  • A zero pay rise is unlikely to drive out a poor performer. Poor performance will have to be managed directly via direct discussions and if necessary via the capability process.
  • High performers are often lost because they feel undervalued. If you give say a 8% rise to effective performers and a 9% rise to high performers, the latter will see that as undervaluing their contribution as the differential is too small. Designing flexibility into your pay and recognition practices is important so that you can be creative in rewarding highly effective performers.
  • Professional staff seek recognition – money is one factor but so are opportunities for true personal development. Be creative in ways of recognising staff – the value to a member of staff is often far more than the actual cost or time involved. You can read more about this aspect at
  • Use the whole range of flexibility available to you which includes allowances such as the fixed term TLR3 which is not subject to safeguarding, recruitment and retention allowances which are not restricted to 3 years and so on. The differential between a TLR1 and 2 allowance no longer has to be £1,500 so you can adopt more flexibility.
  • If you believe that an effective approach is by motivating staff to continue to improve their range of skills and therefore outcomes for students, then adopt a motivational stance when determining pay increases – encourage individuals to go the extra distance.

Performance related pay will create tensions in applying flexibility and being consistent. You will need to invest time in training your assessors of performance and of pay awards/recommendations to ensure that those are based on sound evidence and consistent application.

One way of encouraging consistency and ensuring expectations remain high is to hold a an annual evaluation session with the Senior Leadership Team. To achieve consistency in rating of top performers, you could ask the assessors of staff rated as highly effective performers to present their reasons to the SLT/Assessors so that a peer evaluation takes place to ensure that across the school a consistent view of highly effective is developed. This helps to check any softer or harder approaches in particular teams diluting the value of a highly effective award.

Appointing New Staff

Your pay structure and pay policy should give you the flexibility to pay new appointees a competitive salary and appropriate allowances.

The draft terms will enable a teacher to be appointed in a different school on the advertised grade and not retain the right to a lifetime UPR salary. What is not clear from the draft terms is whether such a teacher could accept a role on the main pay range, having previously been on UPR, and then apply for the Upper Pay Range again. The draft terms do not appear to have clarified this issue.

Pay Policy

In a later article we shall explain how to avoid the pitfalls of such policies and will produce a template for a pay policy. We shall also note some of the small print contained in the draft terms which may come as a surprise and discuss the additional flexibility available when using allowances from September.

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[1] School Teachers’ Review Body Twenty-First Report 2012 page 35; other data quoted is also sourced from the same report.

[Editor’s Note Nov 16 – link to illustration needs updating]

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The Price Tag of Continuous Service

You are sitting with colleagues about to offer a job to an interviewee.  The latter has been advised well as he asks you directly, ” I would like to be assured that you will recognise my previous continuous service in the offer for this role?”  The candidate is very experienced for the role and you are keen to seal the offer.  So you answer, “Yes, once it has been verified”.  What have you recognised and at what cost?

Statutory Continuous Service

Such service builds an individual’s entitlement to rights such as notice periods, eligibility to claim unfair dismissal, redundancy pay.  When you agree to recognise continuous service, you may inherit a long period of unbroken service which could, for example, result in up to 20 years of service being taken into account for redundancy pay.  Thus it pays to be aware of what costs you may inherit.

As it is a statutory principle, most employers have to recognise such service. However, some organisations go further and recognise a wider definition of previous service that will count for benefits etc.

Strict Reckoning of What Service Counts

Statutory continuous service is based on a strict principle. To be reckonable, service must be unbroken. A gap of just one week will break the service record. A week is measured from a Sunday but will count even if less than an hour of work was performed or if no work was performed in a week if the following applies:

  • A contract was in existence even if no work was carried out that week
  • The week by arrangement or custom is deemed to be a period of employment such as a term time worker who is not required to work during the school holidays or a woman on ordinary maternity leave.

Other situations can also arise leading to the recognition of continuous service if an individual is:

  • Incapable of carrying out his work due to sickness or injury for up to 26 weeks and is then re-employed – those weeks will be treated as continuous service.
  • Absent from work due to a temporary cessation of work even if the contract does not continue.

A Break in Service

If none of the above apply and an individual has a ‘gap’ of one week in his employment, he will be treated as having broken his statutory continuous service.

In most cases that means the service before the break will not be reckoned as statutory continuous service. However, there are some situations in which the service will not be broken but certain weeks will not be counted e.g. strikes – those weeks will not count but do not break continuous service.

In many cases, continuous service only with the current employer will count. For example, schools are not regarded as associated organisations and service with another school even within the same LA is not regarded as statutory continuous service but note the points below.

The Hidden Cost

[Author’s update] If the employer is the local authority, then any continuous service with that authority will count which will include working at other schools of the same authority whether in support and/or teaching roles.

An expensive mistake can be made if you contract to recognise service that is not continuous as you will be liable under the contract to recognise such service. Verbal or written offers of employment should make it clear that recognition of service is subject to verification of reckonable statutory continuous service and relevant previous service for particular rights and benefits.

Before answering the interviewee’s question, you should consider the real cost as you may inherit longer service because of an industry wide agreement. For example, if the interviewee has been working for a local authority type of employer, his service may count under what is known as the Modification Order.  The service must be continuous but may have been built up across several employers.  The last employer will inherit the liability for the whole continuous service of the individual

As individuals move between maintained schools and academies, you will need to have a policy on whether or not you will recognise their previous service.  Service with an academy counts for redundancy purposes but it does not have to be counted for some benefits.  In deciding your policy, you may need to take account of the thoughts below.

A Beneficial Price Tag

Some managers will be tempted to engineer a break in service to keep costs down or delay an individual accruing the right to claim unfair dismissal.  A more effective mindset is to consider the value of the experience and transferable skills that an individual will bring to the school.  Yes, that will have a price tag if things go wrong but as managers we have to nurture a culture that makes expectations explicit and provides a work environment for individuals to apply their skills to the benefit of the school as well as their own development and satisfaction from the exercise of their skills.

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Teachers’ Working Hours – Duties of Governors and Head Teacher

Lengthening the school day and week has been raised again as an option. So it is an opportune time to remind ourselves of the current legislative, contractual and other requirements governing the hours of work of teachers.  At the same time it is wise to remind ourselves of the duties of the Governing Body and Head Teacher with regard to the working hours of teaching staff.

The working hours of teachers are derived from several sources:

  • The Working Time Regulations.
  • The contract between the teacher and his employer. In state schools the contract will refer principally to the current School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document.
  • The school’s policy on Work/Life Balance
  • A teacher’s personal working practices.

I have focused on classroom teachers below as the leadership team and other grades are slightly different and those differences will be covered in a subsequent article.

The Working Time Regulations

The Teachers’ terms (STPCD) state clearly that the Working Time Regulations must be implemented by Head Teachers and the Governing Body for classroom teachers. The Regulations specify minimum terms that must be applied but, as we shall note later, the Teachers’ terms may provide for more than the minimum in some instances. The key aspects of the Regulations are summarised below.

Maximum Hours

Most teachers are not exempt and are therefore subject to a a limit of an average of 48 hours per week, averaged over a 17 week period.

It is an average so in some weeks a teacher may be required to work more or less hours provided those balance out over the period. It is also recognised that the number of working hours may increase in high season periods e.g. where the pattern of work increases because it is a traditional busy period in the organisation or the profession. However the hours should still be averaged out over a longer period.

A teacher may agree to work more than the maximum above by signing an opt out agreement. Even then, the Head Teacher would be required to ensure that rest breaks etc. are allowed.

What Counts Towards Those Working Hours?

The following do not usually count as working hours:

  • breaks when no work is done, e.g. lunch breaks.
  • normal travel to and from work.
  • time on call away from the workplace.
  • evening and day-release classes not related to work.
  • travelling outside of normal working hours.
  • unpaid overtime a worker has volunteered to do – such as staying late to finish off a task.
  • paid or unpaid holiday or time off for personal reasons.

The following count towards the average of 48 hours per week.

  • normal duties required under a teacher’s contract.
  • job-related training.
  • time spent travelling if a teacher has to travel as part of carrying out his contractual duties (but not if travelling to and from his normal place of work to home).
  • working lunches (which you are expected to attend).
  • paid overtime; unpaid overtime will also count if the individual has no choice but to perform it.
  • time spent on call at the workplace
  • time spent actually working abroad in some cases e.g. school trips abroad – some of that time would count
  • any other time that is treated as ‘working time’ under a teacher’s contract.

The last point is significant for teachers and is explained in section 2 below.

Statutory Rest Periods

The regulations require that teachers (as workers) are provided with the following rest periods.

Daily Breaks – a minimum break of 20 minutes must be given if a teacher is working 6 or more hours in a day. Payment does not have to made for the break. The Teachers’ terms specify when classroom teachers should have a break – see section 2.

Under the Working Time Regulations, the break can be allocated at a time to suit the operation but should be during the shift and preferably not given at the end or the beginning of the work period. Part time staff and shift workers may prefer to take the break at the end of the shift so that they can leave earlier. The Teachers’ terms specify how this affects teachers as noted in section 2.

Daily Rest Period – a rest of 11 consecutive hours in each 24-hour period should be given. The rest period may cross two calendar days depending on when the working day finishes and starts. There is some flexibility to this requirement but Governors should check that teachers are able to take this rest break each day and are free from working on their professional duties. This provision does not apply to split shift workers but such an exception is unlikely to apply to teachers.

Weekly Rest Day – a day off each week but it can be allocated as a rest period of 48 hours over a 14 day period if that fits the operation better.

Annual Holidays – a minimum of 28 days holiday (5.6 weeks) which may include public/bank holidays. Teachers are deemed to have taken their statutory holiday entitlement in the school holiday periods. Governors will need to ensure that any changes to the pattern of school term times should allow teachers still to take off their entitlement to statutory minimum holidays.

Obligations of the Head and the Governing Body

The Regulations place a duty on managers to monitor the working time of staff – the hours worked, overtime, work patterns, breaks, rest days and annual leave to ensure the minimum standards are applied. The Teachers’ Terms place that responsibility on the Governing Body and Head Teacher. It should not be viewed lightly as the Regulations were passed originally under the ambit of the health and safety directive and can be enforced by the Health and Safety Executive or local environmental health officers.

There are various provisions as to how rest periods may be allocated and exceptions in some industry sectors but generally the above apply to classroom teachers with the following caveat – the Teachers’ terms (STPCD) spell out specific tasks that count and do not count towards contractual hours and, in turn, the average working hours. Those points are discussed in the next section.

Contractual Working Time of Teachers

The contractual terms of a teacher may be found in several sources:

  • the current edition of the School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document (STPCD);
  • the individual’s written particulars of employment (often referred to as the contract);
  • the employer’s (i.e. the school’s or local authority’s) policies which have contractual force.

The main conditions relating to working time are set in the STPCD and are summarised below for classroom teachers. Leadership roles and Leading Practitioners have some different terms which will be covered in a subsequent article as will the particular terms that apply to part time teachers.

Directed Time

  • There is a contractual limit of 1,265 hours of directed time per annum for full-time classroom teachers in England and Wales. Those hours may be spread over a maximum of 195 days. 190 of those days are for pupil contact and the other 5 for non contact time such as professional development.
  • The hours may be allocated reasonably across the 195 days per school year on which the teacher is required to be available for work. Saturdays or Sundays or Bank/Public Holidays are not included unless working on such days is a specific contractual requirement.
  • Often the hours of teachers are explained as being for 32.5 hours per week for 39 weeks which traditionally is split into 38 weeks of term time and 5 other non-contact days. That may be convenient for calculating pay but as the directed hours can be spread reasonably across the 195 days – such an average is not immutable.
  • The Head Teacher may decide how the directed hours are used and all the hours do not need to be timetabled. Directed time includes: work directed by the Head Teacher such as teaching time, PPA allocated time, additional non-contact (or leadership/ management time), duties at break times or before/after school, staff meetings, parents’ evenings, training days and performance management meetings.
  • The professional duties expected of a classroom teacher are quite extensive as may be seen in section 51 of the STPCD 2013.

Non Directed Hours

On the surface, it appears that the working hours of a teacher fall well short of the average maximum of 48 hours per week set in the Working Time Regulations. However, the sting lies in section 51.22 of the 2013 STPCD which states, ” a teacher must work such reasonable additional hours as may be necessary to enable the effective discharge of the teacher’s professional duties, including in particular planning and preparing courses and lessons; and assessing, monitoring, recording and reporting on the learning needs, progress and achievements of assigned pupils”. This section is known as undirected time as the Head does not have the statutory authority to direct how many or when or how those hours should be used.

Undirected time is a contentious part of a teacher’s role as those activities can consume many hours which may tip a teacher across the average limit of 48 hours. Heads should check that when staff are working intensely, in term time, that they are able to take their daily rest breaks as late night finishes and early morning starts may be putting daily rest periods at risk.

Break Times

Classroom teachers who are required to be available for work for more than one school session on a school day, must be given one break of a reasonable length between those sessions or between 12 noon and 2 pm. The break does not have to be paid and is not subject to direction by the Head Teacher. A classroom teacher is not obliged to supervise pupils/students at lunch times which is why many schools hire teachers for that period on a separate contract or on a casual worker arrangement. However the requirement to allow a reasonable break still remains.

Contractual terms

Other terms covering working hours may also be contained in a teacher’s written particulars of employment or other documents referred to in those terms. Such terms are likely to become more common in the written particulars of teachers at academy and free schools.

The written particulars may also refer to policies on working hours. Clauses in policies will often not be binding in law unless those are expressed in such a way that it is clear that they are to be regarded as contractual.

Policy on Work/Life Balance

Governing Bodies and Head Teachers are required to have a policy for teachers. However, the requirement is not just to have a policy but to implement the legal requirements that are often referred to as a work/life balance. Section 52.4 of the STPCD 2013 emphasizes that this is a ‘must’ and that the Governors and the Head Teacher, “should ensure that they adhere to the working limits set out in the Working Time Regulations.” This also applies to the additional hours of undirected time.

Although the Guidance notes in section 4 of the STPCD refer to an older 2003 national agreement, that guidance still applies and contains some interesting reminders of the duties of the Governors and Head Teacher. For example, in section 26 there is a clear reminder of the wider legal duties to monitor and to take action to ensure there is a reasonable work life balance , “Employers have a duty to employees at common law and a legal duty under health and safety legislation, including the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and related legislation and the Working Time Regulations 1998”.

Governing Bodies should ensure that a risk assessment is carried out to assess whether or not the work demands on their teachers are reasonable and the pattern or working time does not breach the legislative requirements regarding rest breaks etc. The guidance spells out that the reasonableness of the requirement for staff to work additional hours (undirected time) must be kept under review and that duty applies to both classroom teachers and those on the leadership team who are not limited to 1265 hours per annum. The Guidance notes that it is not in the pupils’ interest for teachers to be working excessively long hours.

Personal Working Practices

We approach work in different ways. Some have the gift of being very focused and seem to be able to complete work very quickly and effectively. Many of us are not so gifted in that particular way and have to work longer. From time to time, we should review our own practices to identify:

  • opportunities to save time or to be more effective at what we do and how we do it.
  • whether we have fallen into a working pattern/method that requires too much time.

As noted earlier, the terms and regulations affecting leadership roles and especially a Head Teacher are slightly different and those will be the subject of a subsequent article.

Keep an eye out for those articles but even better receive an e-mail alert when the articles appear on this site by clicking on the link at the top of the right hand column of this page. You will then be able to receive alerts by e-mail of new articles and updates.

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Developing Leaders and Rewarding Career Development

One thorny issue for Head Teachers and Chairs of Governors is how to steer a path through the School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document to assist with developing future senior leadership team members.  For example, if you wish to encourage an individual to take on a much wider leadership role but do not have a vacant Assistant Head or Deputy Head Teacher role can you simply promote an individual temporarily to such a role for development purposes?

One may argue that development opportunities are motivating in themselves without the need for reward or recognition.  However, that motivation wears thin when the individual is expected to perform fully as a ‘leader’ but without recognition.

If the individual is employed on and subject to the School Teachers’ Terms and Conditions of Employment the position is quite clear under the 2013 STPCD. Academies may have more freedom.  First, we shall review the options for a non academy school.

The Leadership Pay Range

Individuals paid on the leadership pay range are normally expected to carry out roles comparable to either a Head Teacher, Deputy Head or Assistant Head Teacher.

The type of duties expected of the latter two roles are set out in section 49 of the 2013 terms e.g. “… in addition to carrying out the professional duties of a teacher other than a headteacher including those duties particularly assigned by the head teacher, the individual must play a major role under the overall direction of the headteacher in:

(a) formulating the aims and objectives of the school;
(b) establishing the policies through which they are to be achieved;
(c) managing staff and resources to that end; and
(d) monitoring progress towards their achievements.

and must undertake any professional duties of the headteacher reasonably delegated by the headteacher. “

The above requirements mean that, in many cases, an individual can not be placed on the leadership pay range for development as the terms stand currently. Whether the DfE will consider this further, in the current review of the Leadership pay and terms, remains to be seen.

The above terms would also rule out the creation of leadership style roles by other job titles if they do not meet the above key requirements. So what options are available to recognise staff who are willing to undergo development for future senior leadership posts?

Recognising Development via TLRs

A TLR 1 or 2 or 3 can only be awarded to a classroom teacher i.e. a qualified teacher but the definition of a classroom teacher excludes those on:

  • the Leadership Range
  • the Leading Practitioner Range
  • the Unqualified teacher Range (also known as instructors)

TLR 1 and 2 allowances are for long term responsibilities and so not suitable for a temporary development period. However, cover for an absent colleague may provide an opportunity to take on the role and receive a TLR for the period of absence.

A fixed term TLR 3 may be awarded for a project or responsibility that is required for a limited period. This would be useful to recognise an individual undertaking a development project and has the guarantee that salary safeguarding does not apply when the project is completed.

Recruitment or Retention Incentives and Benefits

It may be tempting to consider awarding a retention incentive to recognise individual development especially as such awards can take the form of either a payment or other form of financial assistance or support or benefit. Even so the allowances are intended for specific circumstances and are not generally suitable for development.

Unlike TLRs, there is no restriction on the level of teacher that may be given such an incentive. However they are specific to new teacher (recruitment incentive) or an existing teacher (retention incentive). Such incentives are not payable as a reward for specific responsibilities nor to supplement pay for other purposes beyond retention or recruitment.

Developing Leaders – Career Progression

If a teacher can not be appointed permanently to a leadership role, then career development and progression can take many forms such as:

  • Acting role in a leadership position to cover for an absent colleague.
  • Upper Pay or Main Pay Range teacher with a TLR 3 for a fixed period to say undertake a project to gain experience.
  • Upper Pay or Main Pay Range teacher with a TLR 1 or 2 according to the nature of the additional and permanent requirement for the TLR.

Career development can be fostered in many ways such as:

  • Project work or membership of a project group;
  • Secondment to another role or school;
  • Development events to raise the horizons of the individual
  • ‘Research’ projects to deepen and widen understanding
  • Visits, guided reading, coaching etc.

Staff Subject to an Academy’s Own Terms of Employment

If the Academy has implemented its own terms of employment for teachers and staff have been contracted under those, then those terms will replace the STPCD. An academy has the opportunity to design a pay structure to meet its services needs including succession planning and the development of staff for future leadership roles. An academy may make payments for developmental activities, if appropriate.

The DfE has a Chance to Encourage Succession Planning and Development

In the review of the Leadership pay range and terms, the DfE is urged to consider how the terms cam be fashioned to provide some flexibility to encourage and reward development. For example, extending the principle of TLR 3 allowances to other pay ranges and excluded roles may be one option.

Keep an eye out for those articles but even better receive an alert when the articles appear on this site by clicking on the link in the left hand column of this page. You will then be able to receive alerts by e-mail of new articles and updates.

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Continuous Service or Discontinuous Service

With the increasing movement of teachers and support staff between different categories of schools, some interesting conundrums are arising over whether previous service counts when an individual joins another school.

To help bring some light to this question, a few articles will be published shortly. These will cover movement between maintained schools and academies and vice versa and from one academy to another.

Keep an eye out for those articles but even better receive an alert when the articles appear on this site by clicking on the link at the top of the right hand column of this page. You will then be able to receive alerts by e-mail of new articles and updates.

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Fact and Fiction in School Pay Policies

With the requirement to produce a revised pay policy, it appears that some schools have allowed fact and fiction to creep into their policies.


Fact v Fiction in a School’s Pay Policy

It is a fact that schools must flesh out their pay policies for teachers including salary progression along the pay ranges, which, in most instances, should be based on performance.  However, some schools have convinced themselves that the School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document 2013 (STPCD) contains additional factual requirements for an individual to progress along the salary range.

A repeated example of this is the insertion, in pay policies, of a condition requiring a teacher on the Upper Pay Range to make an application for progression from UPR 1 or 2 to the next salary point. There is no such requirement in the statutory terms. There is a requirement for a Main Range Teacher to apply to be placed on the Upper Pay Range but once on that range an application is not required to progress to UPR 2 or 3.  One of the tenets of the changes introduced by the 2013 Document is, “continued good performance as defined by an individual school’s pay policy should give a classroom or unqualified teacher an expectation of progression to the top of their respective pay range.”

Exercising Discretion in Salary Progression

Although a school has some discretion in the method of progression, School Governors and Head Teachers should note that the invention of fictional conditions that have no statutory backing will make it very difficult for the Governing Body of a maintained school to defend such a practice.

Schools are subject to general employment law and to statutory regulations, under education law, that govern the employment terms of teachers and support staff.

Academies and Free Schools have wider discretion as to how and what to pay their teaching staff as they are not bound to implement the School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document.  However, unreasonable conditions may not be upheld by the Courts.

Other anomalous conditions are arising. Shortly, we shall publish a check list so that you can feel confident that your school’s pay policy is effective, contains appropriate flexibility and is compliant.

By the way, in the excitement of reviewing your school’s examination results and, hopefully enjoying your summer break, you may not have noticed that the DfE have issued the September edition of the School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document 2013.  Another reason to ensure that you receive alerts to new articles and update on this blog site.  To be alerted, click the link in the left hand column of this page.

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