Three quarters of the teaching workforce is female and yet the pay gap between men and women in schools is 18.8 per cent (compared to a national figure of 13.1 per cent).

School Workforce Census for England published by the DfE in June 2020 showed male teachers getting paid more than their female counterparts across all grades. It also showed a higher proportion of men were headteachers compared to women. Equivalent data for Wales and Northern Ireland were not available at the time of writing.

There could be several reasons for why this inequality in gender pay exists including the impact of career breaks on pay and career progression, more women likely to work part time then men, lower rates of promotion for women teachers, the removal of mandatory pay portability where teachers keep their pay point on changing school or after taking a career break, progression denied for pregnancy and maternity leave reasons and the introduction of unfair and unjustified Performance Related Pay (PRP).

  • I took a career break and wish to return to teaching; Will I be paid on my previous pay scale?

    Unfortunately pay portability ceased in September 2013 and this means that you must negotiate your salary with your new employer. School’s do, however, have discretion to recognise previous experience and pay portability may be included in school pay policies. You should always ask about this when considering a new post.

  • I am a subject co-ordinator, should I receive extra pay for this responsibility?

    If you have taken on a significant additional responsibility in relation to the management of teaching and learning, then you should be awarded a Teaching and Learning Responsibility (TLR) payment. 

  • What is a TLR payment?

    TLR payments are awarded for additional management and leadership responsibilities undertaken by classroom teachers. There are 3 bands of the TLR allowance: TLR 1, TLR 2 and TLR 3.

    TLR 1 is awarded to a teacher who fulfils the criteria for a TLR 2 payment and in addition has ‘line management responsibility for a significant number of people’. TLR 3 is a temporary payment for a time limited project. Full details of the criteria and value of the payments is available on the NEU website at this link:

  • Do I have to take on extra responsibilities because I am paid on the Upper Pay Range (UPR)?

    No, the School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document (STPCD) doesn’t require teachers to take on additional responsibilities to apply for UPR, nor to maintain UPR status.

    To progress to UPR, a teacher must demonstrate that they are “highly competent in all elements of the relevant standards” and that their “achievements and contribution to an educational setting are substantial and sustained”.  This could mean contributing to the wider school beyond your own classroom.  For example, sharing resources with other colleagues and disseminating good practice.  It does not mean taking responsibility for leading a subject or to provide whole school training.  To do so would require a TLR.

  • I was denied pay progression due to missing a part of my appraisal cycle when I was on maternity leave. Is this right?

    No, it is not right.  The Department for Education’s (DfE) guidance document ‘Implementing your school’s approach to pay’ expressly states that “Where a teacher is away from school because of maternity leave, it is unlawful for the school to deny that teacher an appraisal and subsequent pay progression decision because of her maternity. When a teacher returns to work from maternity leave, the school must give her any pay increase that she would have received, following appraisal, had she not been on maternity leave.  Schools need to take a practical and flexible approach to conducting appraisals and making pay decisions for those absent on maternity leave, including where a teacher has been absent for part or all of the reporting year.” 

    State schools in England are expected to follow guidance from the DfE and should only depart from that guidance if there are very good reasons for doing so.  Otherwise, a failure to follow the guidance will be used by the Union as evidence of unfair and, where appropriate, discriminatory practice.

  • I was refused pay progression because our school is in financial difficulties, is there anything I can do?

    You should not be denied pay progression because of budgetary constraints, though we know this has happened in a significant number of cases. The school should budget for pay progression. The school’s budget is a factor that is completely outside of your control, so any decision to deny you progression on these grounds is unfair and should be challenged.

    If you are denied pay progression for any reason, you should ask for reasons in writing and submit an appeal against the decision. Contact your local NEU rep or the for further assistance.

  • I am a mature entrant. Will my previous experience count?

    You should negotiate your starting salary, setting out clearly your skills and experience and why you deserve to be placed higher on the pay scale to reflect your experience as a teacher.

    Employers have discretion to recognise any additional experience that they consider relevant.  The School’s Pay policy should explain what experience will be taken into consideration when setting your starting salary.

  • What can I do if I think I am underpaid compared to colleagues?

    You can ask your employer for information about other colleagues’ pay, although you should be prepared to have your request denied on the basis that disclosure would breach the data protection rights of the individuals in question.  Employers are more likely to comply with a request for salary information if disclosure of that information will not lead to the identification of an individual.  So, if, for example, you wanted to know whether colleagues who undertake similar duties are receiving TLRs where you do not, it would be better to ask your employer how many teachers with similar duties are in receipt of TLRs rather than make a request for the salaries of individual colleagues. 

  • Are school staff entitled to disclose their terms and conditions including pay to each other?

    Yes, they are.  The Equality and Human Rights Commission’s (EHRC) Employment Code provides that ‘pay secrecy clauses’ or ‘gagging clauses’ which seek to prevent or restrict workers from making or seeking a ‘relevant pay disclosure’ are unenforceable by virtue of s77 of the Equality Act 2010.  A relevant pay disclosure is any disclosure sought or made for the purpose of finding out whether – or to what extent- any pay differences are related to a protected characteristic (namely, age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, race, religion and belief, sex, sexual orientation). 

  • Am I entitled to disclose my terms and conditions including pay to my NEU representative?

    Yes, a relevant pay disclosure may be made to anyone, including a trade union representative, or requested from a colleague or former colleague. Any action taken by an employer against a worker who makes such a disclosure, or who receives information as a result, may amount to victimisation.  Contact the Union immediately if any action is taken against you for seeking or disclosing information about your terms and conditions of employment. 

  • Can academies enforce contractual terms that prohibit discussion or disclosure of pay?

    No, they cannot do so lawfully.  See the FAQs above. 

  • I am a part time teacher, am I entitled to receive a TLR payment?

    Yes. A part time teacher can meet all the criteria for TLR and therefore, is entitled to receive a TLR payment.  As a part time teacher, your TLR payment is paid proportionately to your part time hours except for TLR 3.

  • What happens to a TLR payment in the case of a job share arrangement?

    If you are job sharing and your post attracts a TLR allowance in the staffing structure, both teachers undertaking the job share will each receive a proportion of the TLR payment.  Therefore, if both teachers are doing 0.5 of a job- share, they will both receive half the payment.

  • The value of my TLR is less than colleagues with a similar level of responsibility, what can I do about this?

    You should ask for an explanation as similar weighted/sized jobs should attract the same level of TLR payment.

Further information on pay issues can be found on the NEU website at this link