ED/31/09 10 August 2009 NEW BODY NEWS The School Support Staff Negotiating Body (SSSNB) set up two working groups. One of them, the Core Contract and Working Year Working Group, had its first meeting on 27 July. It was clear from the start, that work on these two aspects of the new school pay and grading package will be very challenging. The terms of reference were discussed which include reaching consensus between the employers and unions on a national contract and the working year. The group discussed the content of written particulars and agreed that they should be as clear and transparent as possible. There were various aspects of the draft that were referred back for legal review, like continuous employment and statutory entitlements. There was also a discussion about including a training and development clause in the contract and TDA will develop a form of words. The chair, Philip Ashmore, suggested moving on to the much thornier issue of the working year. The consultants had identified two options: Option 1 – to use a national formula to pro-rata pay against a 37 hour, 52 week year Option 2 – to adopt the core school year as the basis for full-time equivalence The strengths and weaknesses of both options were outlined and there was a general lengthy discussion but no consensus was reached. There is a lack of adequate data on current contracts and therefore there is concern about the funding implications of any solution. The trade union side emphasised that this was only part of the package and that the work on job profiles and evaluation needed to be kept in mind during working year discussions. This was a beginning that left no-one in doubt that there is some tough talking ahead. The working group will meet again on 18 August and is expected to make an interim report by October 2009, so that a final report can be submitted to the SSSNB by the end of March 2010. The Role Profiles and Job Measurement Working Group had its first meeting on 7 August. One of the main tasks of the group is to create and evaluate national role profiles. It was agreed that a job family approach to this was best. Several proposals regarding how to group the various jobs into families were discussed. the TDA uses six families for their career development framework: pupil/teacher support; pupil welfare; technical and specialist support; other pupil support; administrative staff; facilities and site staff consultants advising DCSF proposed five categories: site and services; management and administration; specialist and technical resources; pastoral and functional support; delivering direct learning a third option offered by a technical adviser would be four families: site services; administration and management; education support; pupil and behaviour support The group agreed to reflect on this and have a further discussion on this at their next meeting on 20 August. For that meeting information will be gathered as to how many role profiles local authorities, which had undertaken job evaluation, had created for schools and how many jobs fell outside these profiles. The group discussed the merits of using an existing job evaluation scheme (NJC, GLPC or Hay) or a new scheme created specifically for school support staff. Consultants for the DCSF had drafted a new scheme as part of their report to the Support Staff Working Group. The group felt that a new scheme might give a better basis for consistency since different local authorities had used different schemes. It was agreed that the new scheme should be tested in a pilot study.