Meagre thanks for pushing up standards

14th February 1997 at 00:00
Emma Burstall profiles three cases - based on real teachers - of what the settlement will mean


Ray, 44, has been headteacher of a Liverpool comprehensive for the past two years. He was previously deputy head at another school, but the governors decided to put him relatively high on the pay scale at point 34 because they knew other schools were having difficulty recruiting heads. Also, once they got him they wanted to make sure they would keep him.

Last year, they moved him up a point because they felt he had done a good job managing the budget. He currently earns Pounds 41,076.

Ray has three teenage children, the eldest of whom will start university in October. He knows that as a result of the phased pay increase, he will lose around Pounds 30 a month, or Pounds 356 over the year - which could have gone towards higher education fees.

He regards the Government's decision on teachers' salaries as a slap in the face. He has worked extremely hard since joining the school to improve its league table performance, even though he did not want tables in the first place.

He is proud that GCSE and A-level results are on the up - no mean achievement in an area where 70 per cent of children are eligible for free school meals and 30 per cent speak English as a second language.

But he feels he has not received the recognition he deserves because the Government is not willing to implement the recommendations of the School Teachers' Review Body.

Angry at phased rise


Neelam, 35, teaches maths in a 900-pupil comprehensive in Bradford, Yorks.

She has 10 years' experience and three years ago she reached point 9 on the pay spine - top of the scale for ordinary classroom teachers. Her current salary is Pounds 20,901 a year.

Now, Neelam knows she will get no additional increments unless she were to take on extra responsibilities - but that is something she doesn't want to do. She would rather concentrate on the classroom.

Neelam has two young children and her husband was recently made redundant. They have a three-bedroom house and are worried that interest rates may soon go up and they will have trouble with the mortgage repayments.

Neelam feels very angry that the Government is, as she sees it, cheating her out of an extra Pounds 15 a month by opting for a phased increase.

As the family's sole breadwinner, she needs every penny she can get.

Lags behind his peers


Michael, 22, took up his first teaching post at a primary school in the coastal town of Southwold, Suffolk, five months ago.

Being a good honours graduate, he came in at point 2 on the salary scale earning Pounds 14,001 a year.

Michael has always wanted to be a teacher and enjoys the job, but he hates the poky bedsit he is living in and is afraid he will never be able to afford his own home. Property in Southwold is very expensive - a two-bedroom flat currently costs around Pounds 60,000.

He is annoyed the Government has decided to phase in this year's teachers' pay award as it will mean he loses Pounds 10 a month, or Pounds 120 a year. He is already finding it quite hard to make ends meet and the extra money would have helped towards food and accommodation costs.

Friends who left university at the same time as Michael started on salaries of Pounds 15,000 or more and can expect their wages to rise by a third in three years. Unless Michael gains extra responsibility points in the next three years, his salary will go up by only 17.8 per cent and the gap will widen further as time goes by.

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