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It pays to prepare

Want to get the most from your salary? Sara Bubb has some sound advice

Desperately waiting for your first pay cheque? It won't come until the end of September so you need to budget wisely. Rent or mortgage makes the biggest hole in most people's salary so ask your local authority and everyone you meet about cheaper or better accommodation.

If you're going to travel by bike or car, get it in full working order now. If you're walking to school, invest in the best footwear and bag you can afford while the sales are still on. Rucksacks with wheels are great: for durability, look out for makes by Jeep or JanSport.

How much will you get paid each month? All qualified teachers start on the six point main scale. Most people in England and Wales start on M1, which is Pounds 24,168 in inner London, pound;23,118 in outer, pound;21,102 in the fringe and pound;20,133 elsewhere. A survey in January by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) of 361 new teachers in England and Wales found that 43.5 per cent were paid above M1 in recognition of "relevant" experience, though this is interpreted differently and not fairly. I know a business studies teacher who's on M5 (pound;31,584) but a foundation stage teacher with 20 years' experience as a nursery nurse who is only on M1 (pound;24,168).

Every month you'll get a 12th of your salary but only about two-thirds of that as take-home pay. If you're in inner London, your gross monthly pay is Pounds 2,014 but pound;1,440 after stoppages. Tax is paid at 22 per cent on any money earned over your personal allowance and you'll have 11 per cent deducted for national insurance. You'll pay 6.4 per cent to fund your pension but your employer contributes 14.1 per cent to it so it's a good deal. Membership of the General Teaching Council costs pound;33 a year in England but you don't lose out because local authorities pay you extra through your salary.

It is worth joining a union: the ATL gives free membership for the first year, the NASUWT gives half price membership for two years and the NUT gives one term free followed by half price membership for two years. Repayments on student loans only kick in when you've earned more than pound;15,000 in a tax year so you'll have a fair few months' gra **

Sara Bubb's Successful Induction for New Teachers is published in September

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