Loyalty betrayed;Letter

12th February 1999 at 00:00
Many teachers must be in stunned silence as the significance of the 3.5 per cent wage increase sinks in. After the usual dedication it works out to be pound;1.08 per day or about pound;5 per week.

So many mid-career teachers have remained loyal to the state education system throughout the years of denigration and career building by ministers of education from the previous administration.

We stayed loyal during the years of work overload, rehashes of the national curriculum and poor rewards. So, where do we go from here? The advanced skills, fast-track teachers will be drawn from the younger entrants and anyway only about 5 per cent of the current teaching workforce will achieve this status.

Our stunned silence stems from our sense of betrayal that a Labour Government whose stated belief was in health and education could fail to deliver to those who stayed loyal.

We hoped this year for a substantial rise (when I entered teaching our pay compared favourably with police inspectors and was the yardstick for comparability). We expected a new pay scale guaranteeing progress for all as the years ticked by, and skills and experience were gained. We expected that as graduates we should be rewarded for the years of struggle and financial hardship as we qualified for the job.

I think I speak for so many tired and worn-down teachers whose morale is rock-bottom and who looked (as it turns out, in vain) for a decent recognition for loyalty.

Yes, I think the recruitment and retention crisis will continue. What message has this wage rise given to potential recruits?

Mr Blunkett, you have failed us and, we shall remember how you failed when election time arrives.

It is a sad and miserable time for those committed to children's learning and who choose this job (no longer a career) believing loyalty and faithfulness down the years would be adequately rewarded.

PK Tonks 4 Cheswick Way Cheswick Green Solihull

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