UK Salaries For Teachers – A Brave New World

You’ve got the interview and knew your CV, cover letter and portfolio were excellent, but did you know there are more things you can prepare to make yourself stand out as amongst the best? For example, knowing what a standard salary for teachers in the UK is can be invaluable as it means you won’t undersell yourself.


With the ever fluctuating and unpredictable world that is known as modern day England, it can be hard to get a grasp on what exactly teachers in both primary and secondary schools are earning. There are numerous factors that affect this seemingly simple question, but it can be answered easily – and with ease. This guide will answer all that you need to know about salaries for teachers in the UK, including the typical and minimum wage for teachers in 2017/18, the highest earning and lowest paying places in England, step by step advice for how to train as a teacher and how much do governers make – along with a look at how salaries for teachers work in Wales and Scotland.

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 £25,714 to £32,157 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 £27,498. In Northern Ireland, the minimum salary on the main pay scale is £24,137.

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 – £25,714 to £41,604
  • London – £26,948 to £42,780 (fringes), £29,915 to £45,766 (outer), £32,157 to £50,935 (inner)
  • Scotland – £32,994 to £41,412
  • Northern Ireland – £24,137 to £41,094.

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 £18,169 to £28,735 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 £15,358.

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 – £18,169 to £28,735
  • main – £25,714 to £36,961
  • upper – £38,690 to £41,604.

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 £50,935 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.

Headteacher salary

The highest teaching salaries across the UK are paid to headteachers:

  • England (excluding London) and Wales – £47,735 to £117,197
  • London – £48,901 to £125,098
  • Scotland – £51,207 to £98,808
  • 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. This is not the case in Scotland where it is purely based on years in service.

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 £2,270 and £4,479 per annum.
  • Teaching and learning responsibility (TLR) payments – for taking on more responsibilities within the role, ranging from £2,873 to £14,030 per annum.

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.

Level one teaching assistants can expect to start on around £15,000 rising anywhere up to £21,000 for those on levels two and three. Higher Level Teaching Assistants (HLTA), a promotion which requires gaining an HLTA qualification, can expect to earn between £21,000 and £25,000.

Find out what it takes to become a teaching assistant.

Early years teacher (EYT) salary

You can expect to earn a starting salary of between £16,000 and £18,000 but after gaining experience and improving your knowledge this could rise up to £30,000. Top-level salaries will include some management duties.

The profession is known for its low pay when compared with other roles but it is recognised throughout the sector that while early years workers deserve higher salaries this can’t happen without more funding.

Regardless of pay, 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.


The job of a teacher can be very challenging and stressful at times, especially if you are a new teacher or you need to teach outside your specialty or comfort zone. There is plenty of preparation you will have to do before your lesson and work that probably won’t be finished at the end of the school day. So, teachers should receive high salaries so they can feel appreciated for their work.

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