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Pay rise won't add up to a hill of beans

May I write in grateful thanks to Education and Employment Secretary David Blunkett for a pay rise which he has given to teachers which will solve all the problems of recruitment of high-quality graduates and ensure that high-quality teachers will stay in the profession.

"Munificence" at such a level is rarely encountered in the education service unless it was what happened last year and the year before under that dreadful administration that the present administration was so critical of. Teachers have been the scapegoat of politicians for a long time. I believe such scapegoating to be entirely unreasonable and unwarranted by politicians, the Office for Standards in Education system and the financial regime which has been imposed upon salaries.

I find it ironic that as tax has gone up and benefit payments have gone down, the Government, which promised that its priority was "education, education and education" seems determined not to fund those who make education actually happen. I am sorry to have to suggest that the present salary increase is little better than an insult given the context within which the Government could work.

I am acutely aware that the wage rise for the first eight months will net my young staff, who are working extremely hard, in an inner-urban comprehensive, the princely sum of Pounds 23.80 per month before tax and superannuation. After they are taken out they will receive the princely sum of Pounds 4 a week.

It is probably fortunate that they have had years as students so that they are able to take on board this magnificent gesture and buy themselves the 20 tins of baked beans that will enable them, at least, to feel full and well valued by the Government.

MICHAEL HARDACRE

Pendle Richmond Road Wolverhampton

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