The British Association of Teachers of the Deaf
Promoting Excellence in Deaf Education

A meeting between BATOD and the DfES about SEN Allowance 2 following the publication of the STRB report

BATOD has met with representatives of the DfES re SEN allowances and unattached teachers.

Present: Ted Moore, Paul Simpson, Alison Weaver, (BATOD), Helen Walker, Wayne Stephens (DfES)

Context: Following the latest STRB report the meeting was arranged to discuss recommendations which had specifically mentioned BATOD.

Summary of the main points of the meeting

It was stressed that the focus of the review of SEN allowances was narrow and the DFES could only act within the exact recommendations of the STRB. In this case only the SEN2 allowance could be discussed and only in terms of statutory guidance.

Statutory guidance, however, has considerable strength because although it doesn’t use the word ‘must’ it does use the word ‘should’ and schools and LEAs have to ‘have good reason for not following it’.

We explained specific aspects of our field - in particular delegated units and the mandatory qualification.

Our main aim is to regularise the award of SEN2 for possessors of the MQ. However, we have always stressed that it would be appropriate to extend this to other specialist qualifications of a similar nature eg minimum one-year full-term, or 2 years part-time at post-graduate level. This point was accepted and will be will be put to ministers and the other ‘pay partners’ eg unions before it appears in the draft guidance on pay and conditions due in early June. It was felt that this would support the Government’s CPD agenda. There was also some discussion about taking experience into account also where teachers do not possess such a qualification (although not in the MQ fields) but have developed great expertise over the years.

We also discussed the specific problems relating to unattached teachers which are also the subject of a review. Ted pointed out that the DfES model pay policy does not apply to such teachers and the DfES warmly accepted BATOD’s offer to prepare a model pay policy based on the needs and conditions of unattached teachers.

On safeguarding it was pointed out that all safeguarded sums will cease to be paid in December 2008 including the cash sum relating to the former teacher of the deaf or blind allowance. This conflicts with union advice and so we intend to look into this matter further. If you are personally affected by the proposed ending of this safeguarded sum, please contact your union and let us know the outcome.

Finally it was confirmed that any unattached teacher whose job includes any aspect of teaching at primary or secondary level is considered as a teacher in the terms of the 2002 Act and must be paid on teachers’ pay and conditions. Such a teacher cannot be moved on to Soulbury whilst his or her work entails teaching in its official sense.

Recommendations/discussion/action points for BATOD

· Ensure that members are aware of the end of the safeguarded sum

· Colleagues affected by proposed ending of safeguarded sum to make enquiries with union and let us know

· Prepare a model pay policy for unattached teachers and submit to DfES

· Inform colleagues in the profession at large of this meeting including heads of services and schools giving them opportunities to contribute (Alison to raise issues at HOSS conference in June; place information on HOSS email forum)

Paul Simpson

Secretary, BATOD

March 23 2006