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What the teachers say

Last week a union survey suggested that the average primary teacher has spent pound;25 of their own money on the literacy hour.

Carol Meehan, reception teacher at Park Spring primary school in Leeds: "My colleagues at school have easily spent up to pound;50 of their own money since the literacy hour began. I've spent more than pound;200 on books, resources and on materials for making things like puppets this year.

"But primary teachers spending their own money is nothing new. We have been doing it for years - that's the trouble there has never been enough money in schools.

"Now we're having to buy big books which are twice as expensive. I've bought 10 large books this year which cost between pound;10.99 to pound;16.99 each, as well as having to buy sets of smaller books for the school library."

Paul Shepheard, headteacher of St John's primary in south London: "Teachers spending their own money used to be a tradition here before I came - but it's something I'm trying to move away from.

"Teachers buy things and say 'but it didn't cost me very much' when I try to refund them. My line is that's not the point. Doctors don't buy their own bandages. It's not something I want to encourage.

"But money for books and materials is a problem. Our priority for this year is to resource the literacy hour properly. Other areas will have to go on the backburner. Next year we will have the same problem trying to resource the numeracy hour."

Huw Thomas, a Year 4 teacher from a Sheffield primary school, said: "I've spent about pound;50 this year. You don't realise how much you spend unless you add on your own personal resource books and things for the Christmas party or school trip.

"Since I began teaching 10 years ago, what I've spent easily goes into the 100s. A lot of teachers are jumble sale and car boot sale fiends - if you see something you nab it whether it is useful or not."

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