FAQs on teachers' pay in England and Wales

Pay and pensions
06 January 2017
FAQs
These FAQs reflect the current situation and will be updated as more clarification is given by the government.

Teachers' pay in England and Wales is prescribed by the School Teachers' Pay and Conditions Document.

Annual cost of living increase

Q: Will teachers receive a cost of living increase in September?

A: There is no automatic entitlement to an annual ‘cost of living increase’. Government guidance now states that any increase must be linked to a teachers’ performance. ATL’s view is that all teachers should receive the annual cost of living increase. This is possible where schools maintain a pay scale and allow annual progression on the scale.

The government’s policy of public sector pay restraint means that teachers’ pay will be limited to an average increase of 1% until 2020.

Main pay range teachers

Q: The government is keen on introducing performance-related pay - is this still going ahead?

A: From 2014 it is the government's intention that all teachers will be subject to a system that closely links their performance to their pay progression. Schools will need to revise their pay policies to reflect the link between the outcome of performance appraisal and progression. ATL has issued pay policy guidance and a pay policy checklist for use during negotiations on changes to pay policies.

Q: Can my school reduce my pay?

A: No. The School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document does not allow schools to decrease the pay of teachers if they remain in the same school.

Crossing the Threshold

Q: I will be paid at the top of the main pay range - can I apply to cross the threshold onto the upper pay scale?

A: Yes. The criteria for progressing on to the upper pay scale will be that you are highly competent in all elements of the Teachers Standards and that your achievements and contribution to the school are substantial and sustained. For more details please see ATL's factsheet on threshold.

Q: I am not at the top of the main pay scale - can I apply to cross the threshold onto the upper pay scale?

A: Yes. Any teacher who believes that they satisfy the criteria can request to be placed on the upper pay scale. The criteria for progressing on to the upper pay scale will be that you are highly competent in all elements of the Teachers Standards and that your achievements and contribution to the school are substantial and sustained. For more details please see ATL's factsheet on threshold.

Upper pay range teachers

Q: Can my school reduce my pay?

A: No. The School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document does not allow schools to decrease the pay of teachers if they remain in the same school.

Q: Can I agree to be paid on a lower point on the pay scale or give up my post-threshold status?

A: No. There is no provision within the Document for teachers to move down the pay scale or to relinquish their post-threshold status if they remain in the same school.

Teaching and learning responsibility (TLR) payments

Q: What type of roles can I be asked to undertake for a TLR3 payment?

A: TLR3 payments can be made for short-term or fixed-period projects within the school. The duties must meet broadly the same criteria as other TLR payments in that they must:

  • be focused on teaching and learning
  • require the exercise of a teacher's professional skills and judgement, and
  • have an impact on the educational progress of pupils other than the teacher's assigned classes or groups of pupils.

Q: How much will I be paid for undertaking a TLR3 duty?

A: TLR3's can be paid between £500 and £2,500. The value of the TLR3 payment will be determined by the nature of the duty assigned.

Q: How long will I receive the TLR3 payment for?

A: When you are awarded the TLR3 payment it should be made clear to you how long the project is expected to last. You will receive the payment for the duration of the project in monthly instalments. You will not be eligible for safeguarding at the end of the project.

Q: Should I be given additional time to complete the project associated with the TLR3?

A: ATL recommends that you should be given sufficient time during directed time to complete the project.

Q: I already have a TLR payment - can I take on an additional TLR3 duty?

A: In some cases, yes. You may only hold one TLR3 payment. If you already have a TLR1 or TLR2 payment then you can have also receive a TLR3 payment.

Q: I am an unqualified teacher - can I receive a TLR3 payment?

A: No. TLR3 payments are only available to qualified classroom teachers. You may be eligible for an unqualified teacher's allowance if you are undertaking extra duties. Your school's pay policy will outline when these payments can be made.

Q: I am on the leadership group - can I receive a TLR3 payment?

A: No. TLR3 payments can only be made to teachers paid on the main or upper pay range.

Q: I am a part-time teacher - am I entitled to be awarded a TLR payment?

A: Yes, there is no reason why part-time teachers should not be awarded a TLR payment. You should agree with the school the length of time allowed to undertake the project and the amount that will be paid to you. TLR3 payments are the only payments which are not pro-rata for part-time teachers.

Moving schools

Q: I am considering taking a post at a new school - what am I entitled to be paid?

A: Following the recommendation of the School Teachers' Review Body the government has removed the portability of teachers' pay. This means that if you start working at a new school you cannot guarantee that you will be placed on the same point of the pay scale as at your previous school. You will need to negotiate a starting salary with your new school.

ATL successfully lobbied the government to allow teachers who have crossed the threshold to be recognised as post-threshold teachers in any new school. The Document gives schools the discretion to place newly appointed teachers on the upper pay scale and ATL believes that schools should honour this.

Teachers on maternity, adoption, paternity or parental leave

Q: I am currently on maternity/adoption/paternity/parental leave - what will I be paid when I return?

A: If you return at the end of your leave to the same school then you will be entitled to be paid at the same rate as when you started your leave.

Q: I have been out of teaching for several years raising my family and am now looking to return to teaching - what can I expect to be paid?

A: You will need to negotiate your salary with your new school. Schools do not have to honour your previous placement on the main or upper pay scale, although ATL recommends that they do.

Teachers returning to teaching after a break

Q: I have been out of teaching for a number of years and now wish to return to the classroom - what am I entitled to be paid?

A: You will need to negotiate your salary with your new school. Schools do not have to honour your previous placement on the main or upper pay scale, although ATL recommends that they do.

Leading practitioners

Q: What are leading practitioners (LPs)?

A: LPs are a new designation of teacher with the primary purpose of modelling and leading the improvement of teaching skills. Unlike ASTs and ETs, there are no national standards associated with LP posts and it is up to the school to determine whether they have any LP posts and what the responsibilities of the post will be.

Q: What are LPs paid?

A: LPs are paid on the leading practitioner pay range. Schools should devise an individual pay range for each LP post within the maximum and minimum salaries. The range should be set with regard to the challenge and demands of the post and the salaries of other posts in the school.

Q: Do schools have to have a LP?

A: Schools do not have to have an LP post. It is entirely their decision.

Q: Can schools have more than one LP?

A: Yes. Schools can have as many LP posts as they wish. Not all LPs have to paid the same as the salary range is determined by the challenge and demands of the individual post.

Related links

Need further advice?

Your first point of contact is your ATL/AMiE rep in your school or college. Your local ATL/AMiE branch is also available to help with queries, or you can contact AMiE's member advisors on tel: 0345 8118111 or email us. Please have your membership number to hand when telephoning and include it with any correspondence - this will help us to answer your query more quickly.