Before embarking on a career in the classroom, it's important to be clued up on the average teacher salaries and pay scales across different parts of the UK. Read on to find out how much you could earn
There isn't a straightforward answer to the question of how much teachers get paid. There are many different teaching positions within any school - 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 on the main pay scale for classroom teachers, which as of 2017/18 ranges from £22,917 to £28,660 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 sits at £22,416. In Northern Ireland, the minimum salary on the main pay scale is £22,022 - this hasn't changed since 2014.
While a teacher's starting salary is on average 9-16% lower than other graduates there are opportunities for regular pay rises as you develop your skills and performance in the classroom. Find out more about life as a primary school teacher and what it's like to be 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 initial main rate to the highest upper rate, differ between countries across the UK:
- England and Wales - £22,917 to £38,633
- London - £24,018 to £39,725 (fringes), £26,662 to £42,498 (outer), £28,660 to £47,298 (inner)
- Scotland - £22,416 to £43,845
- Northern Ireland - £22,022 to £37,495.
Teachers who demonstrate outstanding 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 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 teacher's performance.
As of 2017/18, the England and Wales six-point scales runs from £16,626 to £26,295. London rates vary from a £1,000 increase on these figures (fringes) to a £4,000 increase (inner). Northern Irish unqualified teachers can expect a salary of £14,010.
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 £46,829 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.
According to the NUT Supply Teacher Survey 2016, more than half of supply teachers said they could get work when they wanted it, and less than one in ten said they were left without work for weeks at a time.
The highest teaching salaries across the UK are paid to headteachers:
- England and Wales - £44,544 to £109,366
- London - £45,633 to £116,738
- Scotland - £42,360 to £86,319
- Northern Ireland - £38,214 to £107,209.
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 much or as little 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 £2,106 and £4,158 per annum.
- Teaching and Learning Responsibility (TLR) payments - for taking on more responsibilities within their role, ranging from £2,667 to £13,027 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 £11,000 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 £24,000.
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.