'Workload is more important'

7th February 2003 at 00:00
CENTRAL Lancaster high school, an 11-16 comprehensive with 600 pupils and 43 staff, has just been named as an outstanding school in the chief inspector's annual report. Inspectors found 100 per cent of teaching was satisfactory or better, with the proportion of excellent teaching far higher than the national average.

Headteacher Jon Wright is relatively happy with the pay rise, and believes the Government has brought teachers' income up to more acceptable levels.

But the 40-year-old, who did not reveal his salary, said: "While we have had a better deal in recent years, that must be sustained and maintained."

He said a one year deal was likely given international uncertainty and the threat of war.

Susan Harrison, head of English, is an advanced skills teacher on a salary of pound;37,500. A 2.9 per cent rise takes her pay up by pound;1,090 annually or pound;21 a week.

The 45-year-old, who has been a teacher for 25 years, is able to maintain a good standard of living but questions whether it is equivalent to that of a solicitor or doctor with similar length of service. She feels starting salaries for teachers are too low and pay increments in the early years not generous enough. "People might start thinking, why am I bothering."

Collette Corcoran, is a 26-year-old newly-qualified English teacher. Her pound;19,000 salary will increase by pound;10.50 a week or pound;550 a year. She had hoped for a 3.5 per cent increase.

She loves her job and is not sure whether she could manage without her partner's income. "I am not able to pay off my debts from the salary I am on. By no means do I have an extravagant life - I have to stay in at weekends."

Derek Roddenburg, a geography teacher, and Gareth Johnstone, teaching history and English, are on point six of the main scale (pound;25,750, rising to pound;26,500 or pound;508 a week) and have applied to cross the threshold in September. This would give them a further pound;2,200.

Mr Roddenburg, 42, who has been teaching for four years, said an NQT might struggle on the current salary but he had no problems as he lives in the North-west and already owns a property.

"I think workload is a more important issue. If you find teaching stressful, throwing money at the job just means getting paid more for being stressed."

Mr Johnstone, 29 and in his eighth year of teaching, agreed. "Extra money to reduce workload, if it works, will be a good idea."

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