When searching for information regarding salary for support staff in education, you'll find a plethora of figures and articles that confuses, rather than educates. This article will try to provide a clear and simple explanation of what you can expect to earn as a member of school support staff.
Members of support staff such as TAs have a pay scale, recommended by the education unions to help provide consistency in how much employees are paid. Education unions are there to help ensure fairness is a priority when paying employees in the education system, and they negotiate with the government to agree on pay scales. The pay scale lays out, clearly, how much a support staff member should be paid.
This is set out in the same way as it is for teachers. The more experience or more qualified an employee is, the higher they progress up the pay scale. The scale is lengthy, compared to classroom teacher scales. You can access the full scale on the NEU website.
Please note these pay scales are broad because they include everyone from unqualified Teaching Assistants through to site managers and business managers in Multi-Academy Trusts supporting multiple schools.
Those who work in, or close to, London have a higher value pay scale to reflect the higher cost of living. The key points are:
Generally, support staff who have more responsibility will be offered a higher salary. This is easier to negotiate when the pay scale is used, but the pay scale hasn’t been universally adopted by all areas of secondary education.
The pay scale is adhered to by most Local Authority (LA) schools in the country, for ease and fairness. Some Local Authorities may have drifted from what the unions recommend, however. Make sure you're provided during the interview with a clear answer on how much you'll be paid.
Academies are allowed to use their own pay policies, so don’t have to use the union recommended pay scale at all. However, academies will generally stick to the pay scale. Once again, seek clarity on pay before accepting a role.
Independent schools work very differently from academies and LA schools. Independent schools should have their own policy on support staff pay, but contracts offered to support staff members are often more tailored towards the individual being hired. This might mean that they consider relevant qualifications or additional responsibilities before agreeing on salary. Remember, pay scales for support staff are not as universally implemented as they are for classroom teachers. Ensure you are given a clear figure on salary at the interview stage, which benefits you and your employer.
It’s very important to remember that the salaries on the pay scale are per annum, meaning this is the pay that the support staff member will be paid if they’re paid for 52 weeks of the year. In most instances, support staff members are paid pro-rata. Generally this means that members are paid for term time only, which is 39 weeks of the year.
A simple sum to help with figuring out how much you’ll be paid if you’re paid for 39 weeks is to multiply the per annum figure by 0.75. For example, £20,258 x 0.75 = £15,193.50
In permanent employment, support staff member salaries and performance should be reviewed regularly by their line manager. Goals and targets should be agreed upon to help support staff members progress up the pay scale. If this doesn’t happen, then ask the school for a pay review and if that fails, seek advice from an education union.
If you’re a member of support staff and have taken on additional responsibilities, then it’s important you discuss pay with your line manager to ensure your time is being properly compensated.
If you're working supply, however, the best way to get paid more is to ditch traditional agencies. Zen Educate, an alternative to agencies, offers TAs fairer, more transparent pay, and can help you to earn more in support staff roles. Browse Zen's support staff roles here.
Support staff members such as TAs can receive other payments of up to £1,347 if their work covers SEN (Special Educational Needs), so we definitely recommend up-skilling in SEN if you haven't already.
There is also some extra allowance for staff members working in the London Fringe area, with extra pay between £663-£951.
Please be aware that the figures mentioned above are correct as of July 2023. There are ongoing discussions between Unions and the Government regarding pay, which will likely change salaries for support staff members.