'Everyone earns more than teachers'

Sonning Common primary near Reading, Oxfordshire, has 335 pupils aged four to 11. With a staff of 15 teachers, and the same number of teaching assistants, it operates a breakfast club and after school club. As a result it stays open every day from 7.45am to 5.30pm.

"Teachers do use their own money a lot," said Sue Tyldesley, 55, a senior manager. "One of the teachers has already said she will be using the (pay) increase to buy her class laminated pouches because the school doesn't have the money."

Caroline Winton, 25, classroom teacher (pictured far left) and PE co-ordinator is single. She earns pound;24,057, on M4 of the main pay scale, which will rise to pound;24,660 in September 2006, an increase (after tax) of around pound;8.94 a week. Next year she will get pound;26,604 at M5.

"This could leave me quite stretched, especially if the council tax goes up, which we are expecting... I don't buy many clothes any more."

Jo Price, 40, has a two-year-old son whom her partner looks after full-time.

She earns pound;32,678 (U3 on the upper pay spine) which will rise to Pounds 33,444 in September 2006, and also a management allowance of pound;1,638 for being ICT co-ordinator, The latter may be replaced by a teaching and learning responsibility payment in the new year.

Her housing association rent is due to go up by almost 6 per cent. "They have put the rent up because the Government has set rent targets, which means it is going up by two points above inflation. If the Government is setting these targets then why are they not increasing our pay to meet them?"

Rachel Offer, 37, a single mother of two, gave up a pound;40,000-a-year job running an events business to qualify as a teacher last year. She is on the fast-track programme and so is already on M5 of the pay scale, or Pounds 25,953, which will increase to pound;26,604 next year. On M6 she will earn pound;28,707.

"I couldn't support my children alone on the teaching salary. Fast-track has made this possible, but I don't expect to be worse off for being a teacher."

Sue Tyldesley, 55, is married, with two grown-up children of 26 and 28. She is the key stage 2 team leader, and English co-ordinator and a senior manager. She earns pound;32,627 a year, on the UP3 grade which rises to pound;33,444 next year. She also receives pound;3,312 a year in management allowances which may be replaced by a TLR.

"Things are fairly comfortable because both my husband and I are earning and he earns about double the amount I do, but then everyone earns more than teachers," she said.

Head Philip Marples, 56, is married with two children aged 20 and 26. He is on the L18 pay grade earning pound;50,553, rising to to pound;51,819 next year. His wife works in human resources and earns around pound;28,000. The family have recently had to find an extra pound;8,000 a year in tuition fees for their son at university and their daughter is getting married next year, for which they budgeted another pound;7,000.

He said: "While I understand we are not running the country, we are in charge of the future of the country. The increase for heads is paltry."

Mr Marples worksfrom 7.30am to 6pm, and has many evening meetings.

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