What’s life like in other public services

Deidre Atkins (not her real name)
Adult nurse on a general surgical ward in Birmingham

Pay: £22,266
Time in the job: Four years
Training: Nursing diploma (three years)

Atkins finished her nursing diploma four years ago and has worked on a general surgical ward since she qualified. After 14 months she gained promotion. Under Agenda for Change her job has been graded as band 5. She is likely to remain in this band for the next three years although she will rise one point within it each year. Maximum salary on band 5 is after seven years and is currently £24,803. She works 12.5-hour day shifts, usually two days on and one day off, with an extra one thrown in each month. She also works one set of nights a month.

“I’m working for a teaching qualification and will be taking a 12-week course on stoma care quite soon,” she says. “Hopefully  this will help me get my specialist nurse status which will put me into band 6.”

Salaries for Band 6 positions currently range from £22,886 to £31,004.

Charlotte Moore
French and media studies teacher and 6th form achievement leader, Brigshaw High School, Leeds.

Pay: £24,700.
Time in the job: Three years.
Training: BA (Hons) in French and media studies (four years), postgraduate certificate in education (one year).

Moore joined Brigshaw as a French and media studies teacher three years ago. Last year she gained a promotion which entitled her to a teaching and learning responsibility (TLR) award of £2,306 on top of her basic salary. In addition to her classroom duties Moore is now responsible for the academic and pastoral support of post-16 students.

This involves raising their level of achievement, mentoring and tutorials.

She works five days a week from 7.45am to 6pm with about one hour of marking and preparation each evening.

“I’d like to stay on at Brigshaw for the foreseeable future so I’ll keep on getting experience until maybe I can apply for a head of department post,” she says.

At current rates this would raise her TLR to £5,638. In three years’ time she may apply to go through the ‘threshold’.

Threshold payments are currently around £2,000 which is added to the salary of teachers at the top of their pay scale who can demonstrate a high standard of teaching over the past two to three years.

“I don’t think you come into teaching for the pay,” says Moore.

“I earned more as a PA just after I left university. But what I do now is much more rewarding.”

Nora Dudley
Assistant team manager on the after care team in Bracknell Forest Council.

Pay: Just over £30,000.
Time in the job: Four years.
Training: DipSW/MA (two years).

Dudley joined Bracknell Forest as a social worker on the over-11s team after qualifying four years ago. She has since taken numerous courses and on-the-job training in practice development, supervision and management. Her current role is in the aftercare team supporting  children and young people aged 16 to 24 who are leaving care. Her salary reflects the fact that she works in London and in children’s services. The job involves supervising three other members of staff, service development and liaison with other departments such as housing.

“I’ve also got a pretty large caseload although that has fallen somewhat since I started taking on a more managerial role,” she says.

For the future Dudley wants to remain on the front-line of social care rather than pursue managerial positions that might pay more but would take her away from direct contact with clients.

“To be honest I think I’ve reached as far as I want to go. It’s the perfect balance between direct client contact and a more responsible role. It’s my dream job.”

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