Leader magazineASCL - Association of School and College Leaders

Pay and grading of support staff

It appears that many local authorities remain unaware of or unwilling to accept the regulations governing who has the final say in pay and grading of support staff. For community and voluntary-aided (VC) schools, this is clearly the governing body.

School support staff who work in community and VC schools are employed by the local authority (LA). At the present time their pay and conditions of service are covered by the 'Green Book', which is the NJC collective pay and conditions of service agreement. Unlike the 'Burgundy Book', which is teacher specific, the Green Book covers a wide range of occupations.

The Green Book requires LAs to develop a local pay structure on the basis of the national pay spine. For this purpose, LAs have in place local negotiating and consultative arrangements with their recognised trade unions.

As a result, school support staff pay is in principle attributable to the local pay structure.

However, although the LA is the employer of support staff, staff are appointed on the terms and conditions "recommended by the governing body" (regulation 15 of the School Staffing (England) Regulations 2003). In making such a recommendation the governing body: "should have regard to the responsibilities of the post and to the pay scales, terms and grading applicable for similar roles or work throughout the LEA area. Schools may recommend that a support staff member is appointed on any one of the grades currently in use by the LEA, so long as that grading is justified by the responsibilities of the post in question, the point on the pay scale within a grade at which the member of staff is appointed is matter for the governing body to determine, to the extent any flexibility exists within the LEA pay structure. This can take account of local factors affecting recruitment and retention." (School Staffing Guidance at paragraph 5.7)

Upon receiving a recommendation from the governing body, the LA may make representations in respect of the grade or remuneration within seven days. However the staffing guidance says that the LA should use this provision only where it believes a recommendation is inconsistent with its obligations under the equal pay legislation.

The governing body must take the LA's representations into account, but if the governing body concludes that its recommendation should stand, the LA must appoint on the terms recommended by the governing body.

The regulations for support staff working in community and VC schools are in contrast to foundation and voluntary-aided (VA) schools.

The position is much more clear cut for in foundation and VA schools, where staff are employed by the individual school, are not usually covered by the NJC agreement and do not fall under the Green Book.

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