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'I haven't been in the black once'

Birchwood technology college is a 1,000-pupil comprehensive in Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire. This summer, 55 per cent of pupils gained five good GCSEs. Housing costs are high. Teachers receive pound;870 London "fringe" allowance.

Chris Ingate, headteacher

Current salary: pound;60,414 (L27)

New salary: pound;61,923

Increase: pound;1,509

"As a relatively new head, I am earning more than as a deputy so I can't really grumble. For staff, it's a fairly dull settlement - it doesn't do a great deal to inspire.

"I have 100 employees and 1,000 pupils. I have friends with similar responsibilities (in business) who earn a lot more."

Sally Taylor, deputy head

Current salary: pound;45,237 (L15)

New salary: pound;46,368

Increase: pound;1,131

"It doesn't look too bad until you put it into context - mortgages going up, inflation, income tax. I question whether the overall pay rise is enough to give a reasonable standard of living for classroom colleagues.

"Anyone earning under pound;30,000 can't buy a house here."

Steve Bolton, head of ICT and network support manager

Current salary: pound;38,433 (U2 plus four management points)

New salary: pound;39,198

Increase: pound;765

"My wife is a teacher as well and we live in a nice enough two-bedroom house in Harlow, but we are struggling to get somewhere bigger. We would not consider having a second child until wecould.

"I will put in for U3, but I find the whole thing distasteful and divisive.

You are having to prove yourself again and again."

Katy Roderick, in her fifth year as Spanish and French teacher Current salary: pound;26,914 (M4 plus two management points) New salary: pound;27,507

Increase: pound;593

"I'm working really hard, have a couple of management points, and I'm still overdrawn at the end of every month. I haven't been in the black since I started earning. The job of classroom teacher should be more valued."

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