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Caught in an unfair pay glitch

I am writing to you to highlight an inequality I recently discovered in the criteria for threshold applications.

I gained qualified teacher status in secondary education in July 1998 and began teaching immediately.

Seeing my colleagues who began teaching in July 1997 apply for threshold in September 2002 to receive their payments in September 2003, I assumed I could complete my application this September (2003) and receive payments in September 2004.

However, after checking my eligibility I have discovered I am only moving up from M4 to M5 of the pay spine this month despite having taught for five years. I am therefore unable to apply for threshold this year.

Those teachers who began teaching a year after me (September 1999) are on exactly the same place on the pay spine (M5 in September 2003). This is obviously due to the change in the pay structure in 2002 when points 4 and 5 where both condensed to M3.

The net effect of this is that all teachers in the year above and all years below me can apply for threshold at the beginning of their sixth year of teaching whereas all teachers who qualified in 1998 have to wait until the beginning of their seventh year of teaching.

Whatever personal beliefs are about threshold no one can deny that the rules are extremely unfair.

Having to wait an extra year for threshold compared with the majority of my colleagues does not help, especially with the retention issue of teachers at my stage in my career.

I was advised by the threshold helpline to write to the Education Secretary Charles Clarke, which I have done, and eagerly await a reply.

However I wonder how many teachers at my stage have yet to discover this apparent glitch in the system. I also wonder how much thought went into the design of the criteria ... not much it seems!

Jenny Brown 154 Central Avenue Beeston Nottingham

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