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Struggle on London's fringe

Juliet Ball has risen more quickly than many teachers up the pay spine - but still finds it a struggle to live on her salary.

The geography teacher has been at Charters school in Sunningdale, Surrey, for three years, her first job after university. Like most teachers she started on just over pound;18,000 but, after taking on extra responsibilities, is now on pound;23,500. She gets one management point for leading the Duke of Edinburgh programme and organising trips.

She also gets the pound;870 London fringe allowance. But living in Windsor, it is still difficult to get by. The 25-year-old pays pound;350 a month for a room in a shared house and insists it is almost impossible to buy property near the school. "I really want to buy but it is very difficult. Long term, it is not easy to live on this salary in this type of area. The cost of living is almost as high as London, but the allowance simply does not reflect that.

"Given the responsibilities and hours we put in, our wages are not good enough. I enjoy the job. I am glad I entered teaching, but I think coming into the profession and attempting to live in areas like this will soon start to became too big a barrier unless the pay issue is sorted out."

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