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Letters extra: Bad timing on my part

I am writing to express my feeling of injustice with regard to recent Government initiatives.

A number of years ago I decided to leave an excellent teaching job in Japan in order to return to the UK to do a PGCE. I had been led to believe that this would take a total of one year. However, part way through the year I was told that the Government had reintroduced the induction year and that it was essential that I complete this in order to receive QTS. This meant I had to revise my future plans.

During the PGCE a number of fellow students received money from the Government because they were teaching shortage subjects, something I was not entitled to. This I accepted but then part way through the induction year the Government also introduced a scheme where PGCE students would be paid to do their training regardless of subject. Not only was this hard to accept but it didn't end there, as some of these students would also be entitled to a "golden handshake" on qualifying.

This all sounds like bad timing on my part but collectively they have left me frustrated and disillusioned. My anger has been intensified by the fact because of limited funds it was essential for me to take a student loan in order to do the PGCE in the first place. Although I have been paying the required amount back and have been qualified and in full employment for three years it is still not paid off, nor do I expect it to be for a number of years.

To add insult to injury, although I was 27 years old when I went into teaching, having left school at 18 to do a degree and having worked since its completion in mostly teaching related jobs, the starting salary I was granted did not reflect my experience. The school where I still work, at their discretion, opted to pay only one extra point for this experience, thus failing to follow guidelines to pay one point for each three-year period that has passed since leaving school. Although I received the standard two points for my degree and one token extra point for experience (it should have been three), after three years I am still only on five points which means it will be another four years before I can apply for yet another Government initiative the threshold. Knowing my luck this will probably be phased out the year before I am eligible to apply!

I do not regret entering into the teaching profession and thoroughly enjoy my job. Although I am not in it for the money in this day and age it is hard to get by on a shoestring, especially when those around you are having money thrown at them for doing the very same thing you did only a little sooner!!!

Last year in order to make ends meet I did four lunch-time duties which helped cover the cost of the student loan and boost my wage. It also meant I got a lunch.

Now, three years after completing the PGCE, I feel saddened that I have entered into a so-called profession where my net worth is still only pound;13,000. This is at a time when people are questioning why good teachers are leaving the profession and potential teachers are looking elsewhere. The recent Government initiatives for me have held no incentive they have just left a very bitter taste in my mouth.

Julie Anne Marshall
19 St Michaels Close
Lancs BB2 5DGnbsp;nbsp;nbsp;

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