Teacher salary in the UK: how does it compare with those abroad?

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If you are considering a career as a teacher in the UK, you will no doubt be curious as to the salary that you could potentially earn. There are several factors that affect the salary of a teacher in the UK. These include:

  1. Qualifications
  2. Location
  3. Allowances

Teacher salary in the UK: qualifications

As in any other role, a teacher’s salary in the UK is dependent on experience. The standard UK salaries for teaching staff are between:

  1. Unqualified/trainee teacher: £17,208 – £27,216
  2. Teacher (average pay range): £23,720 – £35,008
  3. Teacher (upper pay range): £36,646 – £39,406
  4. Leading practitioner: £40,162 – £61,005
  5. Headteacher: £45,213 – £111,007

Teacher salary in the UK: location

A teacher’s salary in the UK can vary widely depending on whereabouts the school is located. School teachers in inner London, can earn substantially more than teachers living elsewhere, with a difference of more than £8,000 per year in some cases.

Teachers from outer London and the London fringe also earn slightly higher wages to compensate for the higher cost of living within London. Teachers who reside elsewhere in the UK receive the standard teacher salary.

The main pay ranges for a teacher in the UK are between:

  1. Inner London: £29,664 – £40,372
  2. Outer London: £27,596 – £38,963
  3. London fringe: £24,895 – £36,157
  4. Elsewhere in England and Wales: £23,720 – £35,008

Teacher salary in the UK: allowances

As a teacher in the UK you may be entitled to a couple of different types of allowance in addition to your ordinary salary.

If you are a fully qualified teacher working with pupils with special education needs (SEN) you may be entitled to claim an SEN allowance. This type of allowance can vary from £2,149 to £2,242 per working year.

Should you wish to do so, you may also be eligible for taking on additional responsibilities in return for more money. This is known as a teaching and learning responsibility (TLR) payment. There are two main TLR payment ranges. These are:

  1. Teaching and Learning Responsibility 1: £7,853 – £13,288
  2. Teaching and Learning Responsibility 2: £2,721 – £6,646

Teacher salary in the UK: how does it compare with those abroad?

According to a study undertaken by Gems Education Solutions, the United Kingdom paid teachers the 13th highest salaries out of the 30 OECD member countries whose data was analysed – an average of £24,000 per year.

Although this is less than the UK average, which is currently £27,000, this is among the highest teacher salaries in Europe and only fractionally lower than teachers in the United States, who get paid an average of $41,000 per year.

However, teachers in the UK also work longer hours than most teachers in Europe, averaging 46 hours per week during term time; this represents an eight-hour increase on the international average which is 38 hours. This is around the same work week as a UK Member of Parliament.

This time is also spent differently in comparison to teachers in other OECD countries. UK teachers spend proportionately less of their working time actually in class and more of it on preparing and gathering resources for lessons. 39 hours of a UK teacher’s working time is spent in school.

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