Do you take pay in loo?

Dorothy Lepkowska

Many people would admit to "borrowing" the odd pen or a few paperclips from their workplace.

But hard-up trainee teachers are not only raiding stationery cupboards, they are also stashing swag from the school lavatories.

Toilet rolls are among items disappearing into large bags being taken home by teachers anxious to give the impression that they are doing lots of extra work.

Postings on Staffroom, the TES's online chatroom, disclose a vast array of pens, pencils and notebooks taken by teachers.

One says: "When out drinking last night with fellow, prospective post-grad students, I was introduced to the ingenious idea of 'borrowing' stationery from my office. We have now made a pact to take extra-large bags to work for the remainder of our employment, accidentally filling them with staplers, lever-arch files etc.

"This had never occurred to me before, so I'm passing on the knowledge to all you other (soon to be poor again) prospective students."

Another admits: "For the past week, I have looked super-keen by taking work home with me every night - in particularly attractive folders filled with all the pens, pencils, Post-its and dividers required to finish my 'project'!" A third asks: "Do toilet rolls count?"

Another's booty includes two packs of whiteboard pens, six notebooks, pens and pencils, about 300 plastic wallets, about 50 pocket wallets and five lever-arch files. "Ho ho ho. Thanks boss," they write.

Elsewhere on the forum, teachers complain that they are spending too much on books and other resources for pupils out of their own pockets.

Gwen Evans, assistant general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, said: "A lot of student teachers are in debt so it's not surprising to hear of pirate excursions to the stationery cupboards. It is an interesting aspect of underground school life."

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Dorothy Lepkowska

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