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Secondary school teacher: Salary and conditions

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  • Newly qualified teachers (NQTs) in England and Wales start on the main salary scale, which rises incrementally from £22,023 to £32,187. London salaries may be higher depending on location.
  • Salaries on the main scale in Northern Ireland range from £21,804 to £31,868.
  • In Scotland, salaries range from £21,867 to £34,887. In addition, in some parts of Scotland it may be possible to obtain a Distant Island Allowance or Remote Schools Allowance. NQTs will receive an additional payment of £8,000 under the Preference Waiver Scheme if they agree to work anywhere in Scotland for their induction year.
  • Academies and free schools set their own pay and working conditions. These may be very similar to local authority schools or they may vary considerably.
  • Experienced teachers in England and Wales may become advanced skills teachers (ASTs), which involves sharing their highly developed skills with other teachers. In Scotland this is recognised as chartered teacher status. Teachers may move into key stage or year leaders, mentoring and management roles. Management roles in particular attract considerable salary increases.
  • 39 weeks of the year are allocated for teaching and term-time hours may be long. Hours vary between schools and are usually from 8.30am until 3.30 or 4pm, but most teachers are in school before the school day starts and remain after school is finished. Marking and preparation are usually done at home. They often teach five periods a day, with lunchtimes sometimes being taken up with extracurricular or pastoral duties.
  • Parents' evenings, preparation for Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills (Ofsted) inspections, breakfast and after-school clubs, and sport, drama and field trips may all take up extra hours.
  • Teachers have 13 weeks per year away from the classroom, but many use this time to work on marking, planning and preparation.
  • Geographical mobility can improve prospects, but jobs are available in most areas, especially in towns and cities, throughout the country. Staff turnover is greatest in inner-city schools.
  • Teachers may be able to supplement their income through private tuition, national exam marking, teaching evening classes or writing textbooks. Part-time work and career break opportunities are possible. Supply teaching is an attractive and flexible option for some.
  • Although there are similar numbers of male and female secondary teachers, proportionally more head teachers are male. The gender balance varies across subject areas, e.g. more women teach English and modern languages and more men teach mathematics and science.
  • The Department for Education offers support to people with disabilities who want to get into teaching.
  • Secondary school teachers do not necessarily have a base classroom and may have to carry books and equipment from room to room between lessons. The physical condition of school buildings varies enormously, as does the availability and quality of resources.
  • Trips with pupils or staff development opportunities may occasionally involve staying away from home and/or overseas travel.

Salary figures are intended as a guide only.


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Written by AGCAS editors
October 2014

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