More pay, less development

27th June 2003 at 01:00
PROFESSOR Tim Brighouse rightly claims "London is fortunate to have an unusually large group of young and mid-career teachers at the height of their teaching powers. They have been holding the schools together in times of great turbulence" (TES, June 13).

Indeed, this has been my experience in some very challenging south London schools. However, he loses me and many "young and mid-career" teacher friends when he refers to any significant improvement in our pay. While our colleagues on the upper pay scale saw big increases in their pay, we have not been so fortunate.

If, for example, you are on point M5 of the main pay scale your inner-London allowance increase works out at pound;411 per year. But if you are on point U5 of the upper pay scale your increase is pound;2,838 - closer to the figure many were striking for last year.

This sleight of hand insulted many and makes Professor Brighouse's praise of us just hot air. This is not to mention the other sleight of hand - a pay increase of less than 2 per cent - not 2.9 per cent (due to an increase in our national insurance contributions).

Professor Brighouse goes on to suggest a way forward is "in the vital area of professional development". Does he not think that teachers are developing their skills by working in some of the country's most challenging schools? They have to cope with overcrowded and poorly resourced classrooms, in buildings that are in scandalously poor condition; deal with difficult pupils who resent the constant pressure of testing; implement a barrage of new initiatives; and still manage to make learning worthwhile. We do not need more development. We need a break.

Kit Hardy

13 Salford Road

Brixton, London SW2

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