It’s a classic misconception within the school system that teachers are tied to the national pay scale. In reality, teachers now have more flexibility than ever to pursue a better pay and benefits package. Whether you are looking for a new role or think you deserve more where you are, it’s up to you to challenge the employer to compete for your talents.
Schools are fully aware that teachers, particularly those teaching a STEM subject, are highly sought after currently, so it’s likely that they will listen to your propositions at the interview.
Pay scale flexibility
Schools have flexibility to nudge you up and down the National Pay Scale. Fixed points on the Teacher Pay and Conditions Document were removed in September 2013 so schools could have the flexibility ‘within a broad national framework’ to attract the talent they need. The move may only be one point, but if that represents a pay rise, it is worth asking for.
Academies are at liberty to set their own pay and conditions for teachers joining them. Take care though, because the downside is that academy teachers don’t have the same statutory rights to pay, professional duties and working time provisions, or national and local agreements on teachers’ conditions of service, redundancy payments and recognition of some trade unions. There is an exception – those teachers who were in that school at the time of academisation are protected by TUPE so have the right to carry over their previous entitlements. Find out more here.
Many schools now are offering a welcome payment to the tune of several thousand pounds for their hard-to-fill roles. Terms and conditions vary but if you are willing to commit to a number of years you could benefit from a discretionary payment.
Schools in rural or inner-city areas are becoming more likely to offer a relocation package to attract teachers from London or large cities. It won’t buy you a house but it will help with the move.
TLR and SEN allowances
It may be possible that changes in the school structure have resulted in funds available for teachers who want to move into leadership or take on Teaching and Learning Responsibilities. The SEN allowance for 2016-17 is £2,085 – £4,116. Teaching and Learning responsibilities vary between £2,640 and £12,898 depending on duties. The NASWT grid is a good reference tool.
Looking to the future…
The Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) supports a more flexible approach to teachers’ pay, arguing that offering competitive pay is critical to the recruitment and retention of the highest calibre of teachers. They point out the difference between pay uplifts (which should always be applied) and performance-related progression:
“(By 2020)… Employers have extensive autonomy over pay and conditions within a broad national framework. They are responsible for performance management, pay progression and the link to student outcomes.”
Even if you don’t want to move school, you are free to negotiate your next pay increment. Why not offer to take on more responsibility at your current school in a specialism you are interested in?
Teachers are in demand – it is a candidate market so you need only have the guts to ask the question.
Get paid what you’re worth – look for your next role today.