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A message from Patrick Leeson:

13 September 2017 weekly update

13 September 2017

This week, Patrick summarises the latest School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document and the KCC Model Pay Policy for Schools and Academies, together with revised Guidance on Schools’ Use of Reduced Timetables.

Teachers Pay

The 2017 School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document (STPCD) was published at the end of August. This includes confirmation of the new teaching salary values effective from 1 September 2017.

The following changes have been applied to the national pay frameworks:

  • A 2% increase has been applied to the statutory minimum and maximum of the main pay range
  • A 1% increase to the minimum and maximum of the other pay ranges in the national pay framework and allowance.

Where a teacher is paid on the minimum of their pay range, their salary must be uplifted to the new minimum.

Where a teacher is currently paid at the maximum of their range they may also be moved to the new ceiling value - subject to evidence of meeting the criteria for pay progression within the school but this is not required and a lower increase (or no increase) could be applied in accordance with the school pay policy and performance.

Schools must determine, based on evidence of performance and in accordance with their own pay policy, how to take account of the uplift to the national framework in making individual pay progression decisions.

The minimum and maximum of the TLR and SEN allowance values have also increased by 1%. Schools should ensure no teacher is receiving an allowance beneath these new minimum values. Schools may determine the increase applied to allowances currently in payment within the ranges.

Schools will need to ensure all pay decisions are informed by evidence of performance as provided by the appraisal process.

Any pay recommendation or decision should only be made after the completion of the appraisal review meeting. This review meeting should take place no later than 31 October for teachers (31 December for the Headteacher) and any pay award should be backdated to 1st September.

Read the SPS Model Pay Policy for Schools and Academies - updated for September 2017 (DOC, 403.5 KB).

The SPS Model Pay Policy for Schools and Academies (September 2017) reflects the above changes. The Local Authority expects that all Community and Voluntary Controlled schools will use this document as the basis for their school pay policy.

Schools may also adopt whichever pay framework is appropriate to meet the needs of the school so long as the pay range values are compliant with those set out in the School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document. Many schools have opted to retain a points based pay framework but this is not mandatory. There is no nationally determined prescribed cost of living award for teachers. Where schools have not adopted a reference point approach - they should determine locally, in accordance with their pay policy, how to take account of the uplift to the national framework when making individual pay progression decisions

The SPS Model Pay Policy (September 2017) refers to reference points within its Appendix 2 guidance note. The values of these reference points, within the new minimum and maximum range for 2017, have remained as per the 2016-2017 values. These reference points have not been increased in line with the % increases to the minimum and maximum points.

There is some real challenge around the affordability of these increases, without the Government providing additional funding. Kent County Council is becoming increasingly concerned that the proportion of the school budget being spent on staffing is becoming unsustainable in a period when the Dedicated Schools Grant is not being increased. The 2017-18 financial year is the seventh consecutive year where no additional funding has been provided by Government for inflationary pay pressures (known as flat cash), which means that schools have had to absorb these pressures through general efficiencies savings. We are aware that as each year passes, finding annual efficiency savings is become increasingly challenging. It is for that reason that we believe adopting the same reference point financial values as last year is both financially prudent and the responsible thing to do. Retaining the reference points pay framework without an annual inflationary uplift still equates to an average increase of just over 8% per annum for teachers moving up the main pay scale.

Consequently it is more important than ever for Schools and Academies to carefully consider the financial affordability implications of any pay progression decisions. These implications should be on the year any increases take effect as well as future years.

Meaningful consultation is encouraged with staff and unions about any revisions to a school’s pay policy. This is particularly important where schools have developed their own local pay policy or are moving outside of the provisions of the SPS model.

New KCC Guidance on Schools’ Use of Reduced Timetables

Schools have a statutory duty to provide full time education for all pupils. In only the most exceptional circumstances should there be a need for a temporary reduced timetable to meet a pupil’s needs. Kent County Council issued guidance on the use of reduced timetables in 2013 and this has now been revised to ensure that it reflects the current statutory framework, enabling all Kent schools to follow the best practice and meet the legal and safeguarding requirements.

Read the revised Guidance for Schools on the use of Reduced Timetables (PDF, 539.1 KB).

Schools will be aware of the importance of acting in line with the DfE safeguarding guidance - Keeping Children Safe in Education (DfE, 2016) - when safeguarding the well-being of all children and young people. To ensure children are protected the revised guidance strongly recommends that schools carry out a risk assessment before a reduced timetable is considered. It also expects the involvement of the Local Authority in considering a reduced timetable, particularly for pupils with medical needs, with a SEN statement, EHCP or High Needs Funding as well as the children who are looked after by the local authority.  In order to make sure we meet our safeguarding duties schools are asked to please report all reduced timetables to the Local Authority via the Digital Front Door, so that timely support and advice can be provided where appropriate.

A checklist and the following key principles contained in the new Guidance will help schools to have a consistent approach in considering a reduced timetable:

  • A reduced timetable means by agreement with the pupil, parent or carer and school, the number of hours spent in education are reduced for a time limited period probably of no more than eight weeks.
  • The Headteacher must agree a reduced timetable.
  • The child’s parents or carers must agree a reduced timetable.
  • The Local Authority SEN Service must agree a reduced timetable for children with SEN statement, EHCP or HNF.
  • The Specialist Children Service must agree a reduced timetable for looked-after children.
  • The arrangement for pupils with medical needs must follow Kent Health Needs guidance.
  • A risk assessment should be completed before considering a reduced timetable.
  • A clear action plan for improving education should be in place.
  • Kent LA to be notified via the Digital Front Door of any pupil on a reduced educational provision.

I would be very grateful if we could all aim to ensure that we reduce the number of pupils on reduced timetables, which have increased significantly in the last two years. They are mostly vulnerable learners at greater risk of poor outcomes who may also be at risk of inadequate safeguarding arrangements if they are not in full time education.

Patrick Leeson
Corporate Director 
Children, Young People and Education