Assistant headteacher Soraya Bibi has her own unofficial uniform for school – she wears fashion label Mango at work in a primary school in Birmingham. But she loves Karen Millen for party frocks and that’s what she bought with the help of her cheque from Teacher Tax Rebate.
“I adore shopping. I love buying dresses and shoes. My other favourite labels are Ted Baker and Lipsy. Rob, who also got a tax rebate, told me about the website and I went on. It was easy and I got a response within six weeks.
“I was pleasantly surprised. But unless someone tells you about it you don’t know you can claim.
“Rob and I treat ourselves to a meal at a good restaurant once a month when our salary goes in so it’s nice to have a lovely outfit to wear.”
Petite Soraya, who confesses to having 42 pairs of shoes, finds the occasional treat takes off some of the stresses of work.
“It’s been a really stressful year,” she says. “The emphasis has turned to data rather than teaching. It’s all about figures. I love being in the classroom with the children but all these pressures are dampening teachers’ spirits.”
Soraya, who specialises in literacy and numeracy and is a history buff, has been in teaching for 16 years but her first career was in broadcasting – she was breakfast presenter for the Asian radio station Sunrise Radio in Yorkshire where she studied. She then worked in a bank until a friend pointed out the lack of Asian and black teachers and suggested she try teaching. She went on to get her teaching certificate at Wolverhampton.
“I’d never intended to do teaching. I was persuaded that it was a good career to go into and it has been. I can honestly say there’s never been a dull moment,” she says.