No golden hello for nursery staff

14th September 2001 at 01:00
MY daughter has just qualified as a teacher, aged 34. She is a mature woman, a qualified and experienced electrician, who has brought up a daughter on her own. Many years ago, mature entrants and returners to the profession automatically received increments for relevant experience. Now, they do not. Many years ago, students received maintenance grants which met their needs at university and during their PGCE, and their fees were paid by the local authorities.

My daughter has accumulated five years of student loans, is in arrears with the rent on her council flat and will have to pay for childcare for her daughter before and after school so that she can do her job properly. True, she has been offered a job she really wants to do. It is on a notoriously difficult estate, in a school recently out of special measures with a high number of children of refugees and asylum-seekers. This is the kind of job she wants, but her salary will be the absolute minimum payable to a good honours graduate.

Why are other NQTs getting the "golden hellos", the recruitment bonuses and other inducements? Might it be because hers is a nursery post? Is it another example of the undervaluing of early-years education?

Sarah Cox 214 Roundwood Road London NW10

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