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Maths Teacher Salary in the UK

From Sophia, published on 02/06/2017 We Love Prof - UK > Academia > Maths > How Much do Maths Teachers Get Paid?

If you’ve ever had occasion to talk with a teacher, during a parent-teacher conference or during a spontaneous consultation on your child’s progress, you might have sensed a feeling of malcontent underlying his/her assertions.

Frustration over heavy workload has pushed more teachers to become a maths tutor recently. Teaching geared to ensure students pass mandatory exams instead of delving deeper into curriculum, aspects that would guarantee true learning.

Impossibly high standards to reach which, by the way, determine a master’s earning potential.

Is a teacher’s pay really scaled on students reaching learning milestones?

How is pay determined for maths teachers in the UK?

Renumeration for professors can include grants and bonuses An experienced professor stands to earn handsomely. Source: Pixabay


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Disparity in Pay Among Teachers

Depending on which part of the UK you work in your starting salary as a newly qualified teacher in a primary school will range from£22,416 to £35,763 and from £22,194 to £35,409 in a Secondary school depending on your experience.

By contrast, salaries for Head Teachers at primary and secondary schools across the country cap off at over £108,000.00 per year. In and around London, the ceiling is even higher.

The average salary for an entry-level professor with less than five years of teaching experience in a higher education or Post-secondary institution throughout England is £58,000.00 per year. Lecturers with five to ten years of experience stands to earn £62,000.00 per annum, including bonuses and overtime.

If that Professor amasses twenty years of higher education lecturing experience, s/he would see yearly compensation upwards of £70,000.00, including any bonuses for research or mentoring graduate students through their dissertation.

While it is true that higher education teachers can earn bonuses for research or taking on extra responsibilities such as GCSE maths revision or A-level classes, primary and secondary-school teachers can also profit financially by teaching students with special education needs, or by taking on diverse other responsibilities.

The disparity of pay between a Maths tutor whose students are preparing for their KS3 exam, and a professor who chairs thesis defense seems counter-intuitive.

Historically, a teacher’s career track, including promotions and continuing education, would lead to a University position – with it’s honored title of Professor and the promise of tenure: the pinnacle of success for any teacher.

Seniority and Tenure

Permanent Posts, or Positions – what is referred to as ‘tenure’ in other countries, meant that a university professor had life-long job security, even if s/he brought shame to the institution or to him/herself, or became incapacitated and could no longer function in his/her position.

In the film Educating Rita, a professor proudly announces his attainment of a Position, bragging that he could not be fired, no matter what.

He then engages in a series of misdeeds that should have seen him removed from his position; instead he is sent on sabbatical to Australia. He did not get expelled from his position, even when he assaulted his superior.

These permanent posts were few and far between, highly coveted and stingily awarded.

Soon, such appointments will be a thing of the past. As the last of the Positioned Professors retire or withdraw from academic life, their posts will be filled by teachers on contract with no possibility of gaining tenure at their institution.

The Education Reform Act of 1988 changed the nature of post-secondary schools from mere institutes of higher learning into businesses. That in turn altered the relationship of Professors with their domains.

No longer would schools vie for especially talented teachers; nor would genius be particularly cultivated.

Everyone signs a contract: permanent, indefinite or year to year.

This move was meant to narrow the gap between academic institutions and polytechnic schools. Teachers at Polytechnic universities have always worked under contract, and such houses of learning have always been ‘for profit’.

1992 saw a further narrowing of the gap between the two types of schools: all polytechnic colleges became Universities.

From then on, any illusion that academic professorship conveyed gravitas was irrevocably destroyed.

Seniority in Primary and Secondary Education

Primary and Secondary schools are also run as businesses and those teachers are also contract employees, even though these schools are overseen and regulated by the government.

However, as demonstrated in the salary breakdown at the start of this article, rank and seniority does bear on a teacher’s earning power.

Here we take a closer look at compensation for specific levels of teaching.

Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) teachers are expected to teach a variety of subjects: Reading, Writing, Grammar, Sciences, and, of course, Maths.

  • Salaries for newly qualified teachers (NQTs) in England, Wales and Northern Ireland start on the minimum rate of the main pay range which is £22,244. The pay range rises on an incremental basis up to £31,831.

  • Teachers in Scotland start on salaries of £21,867 and with experience can work up to salaries of £34,887.

  • After gaining experience and expertise, teachers who reach the top of the main pay range can apply to be assessed to progress to the upper pay scale. This ranges from £35,218 to £37,871. Higher salaries can be achieved by reaching advanced skills and leadership group levels.

In Scotland, experienced teachers who wish to remain in the classroom rather than pursue management careers can take part in the chartered teacher programme, which involves further skills development.

Being a chartered teacher attracts a higher wage.

Taking on extra duties brings in more money Primary school teachers instruct on a range of subjects. Source: Pixabay

Primary school teachers work with Key Stage 1 and 2 students (P2 through P7, in Scotland), ages ranging from five to eleven. At this stage, students are given instruction in discrete segments, sometimes with teachers that specialize in a particular subject.

  • New entrants to the profession in England, Wales and Northern Ireland start on the main salary scale, which rises incrementally from £22,467 to £33,160. Enhanced pay scales apply for teachers working in or near London.

  • In Scotland, the new entrants’ starting salary is £22,416, plus any payments made through the Preference Waiver Scheme, rising incrementally to £35,763.

After gaining experience and expertise, particularly skilled classroom teachers in England and Wales can, where the opportunities exist, apply for a leading practitioner position.

Schools now have the freedom to create higher-salary posts for teachers whose primary purpose is modelling and leading improvement of teaching skills. Salaries in this bracket start at £38,984, potentially rising to over £100,000.

Starting in Secondary School, students are treated to a daily rotation of teachers, each of whom are firmly entrenched in their discipline. All instructors, including Maths teachers stand to earn:

  • NQTs in England and Wales start on the main pay range, which rises incrementally from £22,467 to £33,160 (£28,098 to £33,160 for inner London).

  • Salaries on the main scale in Northern Ireland range from £22,243 to £32,509.

  • In Scotland, salaries range from £22,194 to £35,409. In addition, in some parts of Scotland it may be possible to obtain a Distant Islands Allowance or Remote Schools Allowance. NQTs will receive an additional payment of £8,000 under the Preference Waiver Scheme if they agree to work anywhere in Scotland for their induction year.

Academies and free schools set their own pay and working conditions. These may be very similar to local authority schools or they may vary considerably.

Teachers may move into key stage or year leaders, mentoring and management roles.

Management roles in particular result in considerable salary increases.

Further Education Teachers is a blanket term used to describe anyone who teaches beyond secondary school: at university or a sixth form college, for example.

  • As an unqualified further education (FE) teacher you could expect to earn £19,008 to £22,575. A qualified FE teacher can earn between £23,952 and £36,162.

  • Typical salaries at advanced teaching and training levels are in the region of £36,000 to £40,000. Within leadership and management roles, salaries can significantly exceed that amount.

It is important to note that these pay scales are for all teachers, at every stage of development and experience, not exclusively for Maths teachers.

Experience and performance determine a teacher's salary in the UK. Teachers’ salaries are based in part on performance. Source: Pixabay

Experience is (not Necessarily) what Matters Most

While it is true that teachers with significant classroom experience can apply for promotion – and higher pay, since the Education Reform Act, teaching experience matters less than classroom performance, insofar as pay increases are concerned.

A teacher with three years’ experience whose students perform exceptionally well on mandated exams could draw a salary from the higher end of the pay range than an equally experienced teacher whose students test out at just above average.

A teacher who not only excels in the classroom but volunteers for extra duty, or to work with special needs students will be awarded bonuses that other, less active teachers would not be entitled to.

What about Maths Teachers?

  1. The UK school system makes no distinction between a teacher of Maths and of any other subject, when it comes to pay.

  1. Teachers of all subjects are compensated according to their experience and performance, and all fall within the salary range for their level.

According to Elizabeth Truss, such unremarkable treatment of maths teachers and cavalier attitude toward maths in general will certainly lead to Britain falling behind other nations whose pupils excel at maths.

She faced great criticism for her position on boosting pay and incentives to attract quality maths instructors and recommending that qualifications for maths teachers be more stringent.

Until now, nothing has been done to especially recognize or compensate maths teachers beyond what teachers of other subjects earn.

We sure hope that will change.


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