Average teacher salaries vary across the UK. It's important to be familiar with pay scales before you enter the profession - find out how much you could be entitled to as a teacher
There isn't a straightforward answer to the question of how much teachers get paid. There are many different teaching positions within schools - teaching assistants, early years teachers and supply teachers, to name a few - all with varying salaries. Your location will affect your pay packet too. Teachers in London earn up to £5,000 per year more than their peers across the rest of the UK.
Newly qualified teacher (NQT) salary
In England and Wales, as an NQT you'll start at the lowest point of the main pay scale for classroom teachers, which ranges from £23,720 to £29,664 depending on location (higher pay rates are instated in London and its fringes).
The Scottish equivalent of an NQT is a probationer, who, unlike an NQT, is initially employed on a probationary contract. The current probationer's salary is £22,866. In Northern Ireland, the minimum salary on the main pay scale is £22,243.
There are opportunities for regular pay rises as you develop your skills and performance in the classroom. Find out more about what it's like to be a primary school teacher and the life of a secondary school teacher.
Qualified teacher salary
The pay scales for qualified teachers are split into main and upper pay ranges - after entering at the NQT/probationary starting point, teachers are promoted up the scales in line with excellent performance. These ranges, from the main rate to the highest upper rate, differ between countries across the UK:
- England (excluding London) and Wales - £23,720 to £35,008
- London - £24,859 to £41,268 (fringes), £27,596 to £43,348 (outer), £29,664 to £47,751 (inner)
- Scotland - £27,438 to £36,480
- Northern Ireland - £22,243 to £37,870.
Teachers who demonstrate a command of the classroom with proven expertise can apply for Lead Practitioner Accreditation. Lead practitioners are paid considerably more than standard classroom teachers.
Unqualified teacher salary
An unqualified teacher is someone who has not yet obtained Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) through the approved channels of postgraduate study, School Direct or Teach First. Find out more about the different routes into teaching.
Unqualified teachers are paid in relation to a six-point pay scale coordinated by the government's School Teachers' Review Body. Where an unqualified teacher ranks on this scale is at the discretion of the academy in which they're employed, with progression up the scale dependant on the unqualified teacher's performance.
The six-point scale runs from £17,208 to £27,216 in England and Wales. London rates vary. You can expect a roughly £1,000 (fringes) to £4,000 (inner) increase on these figures. Northern Irish unqualified teachers can expect a salary of £14,151.
View the teachers' salaries table at Get Into Teaching for more information.
Supply teacher salary
England and Wales offer three rates of pay for supply teachers, reflecting levels of qualification and standards of teaching. These are:
- unqualified - £16,626 to £26,295
- main - £22,917 to £33,824
- upper - £35,927 to £38,663.
As work isn't guaranteed for the entire year, many supply teachers are paid on a daily rate, which is calculated on a pro-rata basis by dividing the annual salary of their bracket by 195 (the number of days a teacher is required in school per year).
London-based supply teachers can expect higher salaries than this, with inner London positions offering up to £47,298 per annum. Pay rates for Scottish supply teachers vary depending on length of service, while Northern Irish substitute teachers are paid in a similar points-based pay scale to England and Wales.
Only 2% of respondents to the NUT Supply Teacher Survey 2017 claimed they could not find any supply work.
The highest teaching salaries across the UK are paid to headteachers:
- England (excluding London) and Wales - £45,213 to £111,007
- London - £46,318 to £118,490
- Scotland - £45,111 to £88,056
- Northern Ireland - £43,664 to £108,282.
Public schools set their own rates of pay. State schools administer pay based on the age and number of children enrolled in the institution.
Teachers' pay scales
Pay scales are a national system of determining how much a teacher should be paid. Outside the main scale, which outlines the pay of qualified classroom teachers, there are individual pay scales for unqualified teachers, teaching assistants and headteachers, among other roles.
Upon starting a teaching role, you'll be paid at the lowest point of its pay scale. Opportunities to receive a pay rise will become available as a result of appraisal outcomes and meeting teaching standards set by schools.
Private schools don't follow these national pay scales, and are free to pay their teachers as they see fit. Very few private institutions advertise their pay scales publically, although if looked after by an organisation such as the Independent Association of Prep Schools (IAPS) or the Headmaster and Headmistresses' Conference (HMC), private school teachers can expect a pay scale similar to the state school system.
Additional payments and benefits
On top of their basic salary, many teachers enjoy additional payments:
- Special education needs (SEN) allowance - for working as a qualified teacher of SEN pupils, ranging between £2,149 and £4,242 per annum.
- Teaching and learning responsibility (TLR) payments - for taking on more responsibilities within the role, ranging from £2,721 to £13,288 per annum.
There is also financial help available to teachers looking to get on the property ladder, courtesy of the Teachers Building Society's Help to Buy scheme.
Other benefits include automatic entry onto the Teacher's Pension Scheme and extensive holiday periods. Despite teachers enjoying a 195-day working year, there is still work to be done during the holidays.
Teaching assistant salary
As there is no national pay scale for teaching assistants (TAs), the exact amount a TA earns is at the discretion of the Local Education Authority (LEA). This means two TAs in the same area could be paid differently depending on the demands of their specific roles.
Starting salaries for teaching assistants fall anywhere between £11,500 and £14,000. Higher Level Teaching Assistants (HLTA), a promotion which requires gaining an HLTA qualification, can expect a salary in the range of £17,000 to £23,000.
Find out what it takes to become a teaching assistant.
Early years teacher (EYT) salary
The Early Years Pay and Conditions Survey 2016 revealed that the national average EYT salary, at £10.01 per hour, falls well below the national median of £21.97 per hour for qualified teaching and educational professionals. Unqualified EYTs can expect a pay rate of just £6.93 per hour.
Early years teaching has been recognised by the Low Pay Commission (LPC) as being a low-paid sector, with 84.8% of EYTs paid the national minimum wage. Despite this, early years teaching is a rewarding profession.
Further education teacher salary
While the University and College Union (UCU) provides recommended for pay scales in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (in Scotland this is the Educational Institute of Scotland), further education institutions are free to set their own scales - and many do.
Figures are typically decided based on factors such as prior teaching experience, geographical location and subject demand. Generally, unqualified further education teacher salaries range from £19,000 to £23,000, rising to £24,000 once qualified. You'll then work your way up pay scales as you gain experience, with typical salaries at advanced levels falling between £36,000 and £42,000.
Learn more about becoming a further education teacher.