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Teachers feel 'let down and insulted'

Jacqueline Wells, an English teacher at Penydre high school in Merthyr Tydfil, is angry. She believes that if the Government thinks education is important it should reflect that in proper pay.

"It just isn't enough. Teachers spend so much time outside the timetable arranging after-school activities but they aren't paid for it.

"The Government now says it will pay teachers Pounds 9.72 a hour after school but that is a bit of a joke. A solicitor wouldn't work for that. They are disregarding the fact we are professionals."

Jon Chapman, senior teacher with responsibility for the staff at Francis Combe School in Watford, Hertfordshire, says his colleagues are not impressed and feel the award undermines their professionalism.

"Teachers' workloads have increased drastically in the past two years, yet our pay is falling behind that of other public-sector workers. We are insulted that it is below the rate of inflation. We put in long hours but the way we are being pushed we may decide to work from 8.30am to 3.30pm which is what non-teachers think we do."

David Shaw, head of maths at Light Hall school in Solihull, thinks that the pay increases teachers receive these days are nonsense.

"While the whole figure of 3.8 per cent may seem reasonable when it is averaged out over the whole year it only comes to 2.6 per cent which is no recognition of the real pressure teachers are under."

Paul Meredith, senior teacher at Onslow St Audrey's school in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, believes the phasing of the award adds insult to injury.

He said: "Most of us voted Labour into power; many of us are party members. We want this Government to succeed and perhaps teachers should be the first to understand the need for spending constraints. But surely we are entitled to expect our leaders to calculate accurately the effect our phased pay award for 1998 will have."

Elaine Carlton

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