Local Government Finance (England) Special Grant Report (No. 74) on Threshold Payments

[back to previous text]

Mr. Hayes: On supply teachers, the point that I was trying to make concerned supply teachers who work for more than one authority. The reimbursement of the LEA in those circumstances is a critical matter that remains unclear.

The right hon. Lady said that LEAs would not go short. I do not doubt her honesty, but where are the national figures? The Department must have modelled the likely extra additional administrative costs and married that figure with the interest payments.

Ms Morris: To clarify the matter, the threshold payment is now £2,076, which becomes £2,300 if one puts in 17.8 per cent. of on costs.

In asking local authorities to amend the way in which they pay teachers on an incremental scale, we do not pay them more money for doing it; we ask them to pay teachers a different amount of money than they have been paying them for the past year. That is not hugely difficult. No one has said to me, ``You've asked us to adjust the incremental scale for a lot of our teachers: can you pay us for doing it?'' An agreement has been reached between local authorities and central Government. I will be honest: I have had some hassles with partners in this system, but this has not been one of them. If it were, I am sure that local authorities would go to the hon. Member for South Holland and The Deepings as soon as to me.

The hon. Member for Cotswold asked about reviewing the system. That now falls to the School Teachers Review Body. One of the consequences of the NUT's success at the judicial review was the judgment that we should have taken the matter to the STRB and should not have made a decision outside that forum. We have amended the situation by consulting the same people again, but within the STRB framework. Now, every year when the official consultees make representations to the STRB about pay increases, they will also be able to make representations about this matter. Representatives of the STRB said that they did not want to consider changing the system this year because they wanted to bed it down, but that next year they would be open to comments from STRB consultees.

Mr. Clifton-Brown: I thank the Minister for that helpful clarification. When the STRB makes such a recommendation, will the Minister have to introduce a statutory instrument to amend the system, or is it amendable under the report?

I want to ask the Minister one other question. Supply teachers work in many different schools, so who will do their assessments?

Ms Morris: On the first question, the results of the STRB and our final judgment year on year are contained in statutory instruments that are placed before the House. I know this because we are about to do it for this year's STRB pay increases. The process is as follows: the STRB reports; we say what we think; we consult, which I am doing at the moment; and we then make a final announcement, which is put before the House. I think that they are negative rather than affirmative resolutions, whereas this is an affirmative resolution. The option is there, as it always is with STRB reports, for any hon. Member to pray against and ask for the instrument to be debated. There are pros and cons in that system, but that is how things are at present.

On supply teachers, assessment is difficult. The assessor must work with the head teacher of the school in which a supply teacher spends most time and talk to the head who has made the assessment. The assessor cannot visit all the different schools where the supply teacher has worked. We shall continue to monitor that system. Our starting point was that we did not want to deprive supply teachers of access to the money. There are five points during the academic year when local authorities tot up all the days in which a supply teacher who has passed the threshold has worked. It is a day-by-day payment.

As ever, our debate has ranged far wider than the report. I accept that the report is one part of a much bigger vision for rewarding the performance of teachers. They deserve it. Most teachers are good teachers who teach our children well and to high standards. I am delighted that at long last we are putting in place a way of rewarding the best of those teachers. I hope that the report will find favour with the Committee.

Question put and agreed to.


    That the Committee has considered the Government Finance (England) Special Grant Report (No. 74) on Threshold Payments (HC 209).

Committee rose at twenty eight minutes to Twelve o'clock.

The following Members attended the Committee:
Amess, Mr. David (Chairman)
Allan, Mr.
Betts, Mr.
Bradley, Mr. Peter
Clifton-Brown, Mr.
Gerrard, Mr.
Griffiths, Jane
Hayes, Mr.
Howarth, Mr. Gerald
Keen, Mr. Alan
Morris, Estelle
Turner, Dr. George
Ward, Ms.

Previous Contents

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries ordering index

©Parliamentary copyright 2001
Prepared 27 February 2001