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Refuse to be kicked any more

You reported that the National Union of Teachers' submission to the review body expected teachers with five years' service to be earning pound;27,123; this is surely an outrageous joke (TES, October 1).

I began teaching in September 1999 on point 2 of the old pay scale and had reached point 3 when the scales were revised. In common with other members of the 1999 teaching cohort I was placed on M2 of the new pay scale. In beginning my sixth year of teaching in September 2004, I have reached the dizzy heights of M5 and pound;25,137. It will take me seven years to reach Pounds 27,123.

In my five years of complete service, I have managed to repay approximately half of my debts accrued whilst studying; I envisage a further nine years of repayments to the Student Loans Company to repay the remaining pound;7,500. I teach English - a shortage subject - and am directly involved in training teachers.

I find it difficult to comprehend a system which rewards new entrants to my subject with the opportunity to have their burden of debt removed and gives them a "golden hello" payment of pound;4,000, yet which leaves me - as I struggle to afford a house and provide for my family - with a debt repayment burden stretching on to the "crack of doom".

If my debt were removed, it would be equivalent to a pound;70-a-month pay rise, after tax! The professional associations are not interested because the affected cohort of teachers is far too small and there are bigger issues than debt, like scoring political points off the other associations.

The Government just doesn't care.

Perhaps the final irony is to raise the age of retirement to 65. I can't say that there is a retention strategy, perhaps I have overlooked it. There is an old saying that if you lie down then you are at the perfect height to get a kicking; if you stay there after the kicking, you are at the right height to get another kicking. So I'm getting up off my reluctant backside and leaving -to avoid yet another kicking.

Jan Ian Bailey

7 Irvings Crescent

Saltney, Chester

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