If you’re searching for this article, then you’re after simple and concise information on how much an Early Career Teacher (what's that?) can expect to make in their first years of teaching.
There isn’t a single answer to how much someone will make in their first role as an ECT (Early Career Teacher), but here are some parameters:
If you work in a state school, then you’ll be paid according to the agreed pay scale. The pay scale lays out how much a teacher is to be paid, depending on their position in the school and their experience. The scale is there to ensure that teachers are paid fairly and equally in state education, while helping to eliminate discriminatory practice at all levels.
For qualified teachers who don’t have leadership responsibilities, the scale runs from M1 to M6, and then from U1 to U3. The M stands for Main Pay and the U for Upper Pay.
Within the bands of the pay scale, the salary differs depending on whether a teacher works close to or in London. Pay increases in state schools depending on this to counter the higher cost of living.
The tables below lay out the salaried pay ranges for qualified teachers without leadership responsibility.
Recently, teachers have been granted a pay rise by the government which has seen the figures for early years teachers increase, to be more in line with inflation. As an ECT, you’ll most likely start your career at M1, which means your salary will be between £30,000 and £36,745 depending on whether you’re in or near London.
This will be the normal circumstance for most ECTs, but it may not be the case for all. Schools that are owned by Academies or Trusts sometimes use their own pay scales but are usually similar to the pay scale above.
Sometimes, a school may offer higher than M1, to secure a teacher that they particularly want for the job. It’s therefore possible for an ECT with an exceptional PGCE and experience to be offered M2 or M3 straightaway.
In most circumstances, teachers move up the pay scale by one increment per academic year. It is possible for teachers to be held back from progressing, but that is usually because of very poor performance in their job. If you, as an ECT, are in danger of not progressing, then your employer will make you aware of this at an early stage.
Teachers can also move up the scale in other ways. If a teacher shows excellent ability and aptitude, then a school may seek to move them up to a higher salary than usual to retain their staff member. If a teacher gains leadership responsibilities, such as becoming a Head of Department or Head of Year, then they should expect a TLR.
A TLR (Teaching & Learning Responsibilities) is an extra payment on top of your classroom teacher salary. ECTs are unlikely to receive this in their first year of teaching, but progressing into higher roles will reward you with higher pay.
If a teacher gains employment in an SEN (Special Educational Needs) school, then there is often an additional payment associated with this also.
Teachers’ pensions are envied, and for good reason – they are guaranteed by the government, and the employer contributions are generous. Typically, employers contribute around £7,000 each year, linked to salary.
Teachers in sought-after subjects such as Science and Computer Science may be eligible for loan reimbursements from their student loan. It’s worth investigating this before you start your career to see if you are eligible.
The salaries of support staff are less regulated than those of teachers. Check out our full guide to support staff pay to learn more.
At interview, seek clarification regarding pay. If you believe that you should be offered greater than M1, you’ll need to mention this at the interview stage, as most employers will go with M1 as a standard.
These figures are correct as of September 2023. Teaching unions such as NASUWT and NEU are in constant discussion with the government over pay rises and are seeking more generous rises due to the cost-of-living crisis of 2023. As such, these figures may change as we advance into the 2024/2025 academic year.
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