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Wednesday, 3 April, 2002, 07:53 GMT 08:53 UK
Teachers dream of footballers' pay
Ryan Giggs - testimonial match
Ryan Giggs: A better role model than teacher?

A teacher has been contrasting the bonus he received for 25 years' service to education with the 75,000 footballer Ryan Giggs earned per week.

Tim Marple recalled how the Manchester United and Wales winger got an extra 1m from his testimonial match last summer.

"At the same time I got a certificate for 25 years' teaching in Wolverhampton - and a bonus of 150," he said.

"That works out at 6 per year or 2 per term.

"One of my colleagues paid five terms' worth to go and see Giggs."

'I want my life back'

Mr Marple told the NASUWT teachers' union conference in Scarborough: "Who is the better role model - the professional footballer or a teacher?"

He said it had made him so angry he wrote a letter of complaint to the Education Secretary, Estelle Morris.

Proposing a resolution on teacher shortages, Jacqui Simpson from Birmingham complained of a "downward spiral of piecemeal strategies" from government aimed at tackling the problem.

Jacqui Simpson
Jacqui Simpson: "Teachers want out"

She recalled the sort of comments teachers made to her as they struggled with their workload: "I want my life back", "My marriage is beginning to suffer", "I never see my little girl".


"Teachers are voting with their feet and leaving the classroom, often without jobs or a pension to go to - this is how desperate they are to get out," she said.

Figures showed that 30% of trained teachers never entered a classroom and another 20% left within three years.

The answer was to make teaching an attractive job again by cutting workload, tackling indisicipline, reviewing "the bureaucratic burden" and rewarding teachers well for the job they did - without their "jumping through the hoop" onto the new, performance-related pay scale.

The problems with the operation of that scheme, now in its second year, were raised by another conference delegate in a question and answer session with the visiting Education Minister, Stephen Timms.

Merit money

Teacher Mandy Carter
Mandy Carter (right): "Disgruntled"

Mandy Carter, from Worksop, said the previous education secretary, David Blunkett, had promised her more than 30,000 if she went onto the new pay scale.

"My head teacher now tells me the school can't afford to pay all the teachers that have met their performance management objectives," she said.

"Why have I been let down so badly?" she asked, to loud applause from the conference hall.

The mood turned to derision when Mr Timms said that it had always been made clear that performance-related payments would be "discretionary".

He said talks were still going on about how much money would be available to fund the system next year with the head teacher associations in England and Wales - which are threatening industrial action on the issue.

The NASUWT leader, Nigel de Gruchy, said performance pay schemes the world over had foundered when there was not the money to support them.

Any such scheme "must imply an open cheque", he said.

"Otherwise it will disappear into the obscurity and oblivion it undoubtedly deserves."

See also:

01 Apr 02 | UK Education
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28 Aug 01 | UK Education
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