In 2019 summer term, the NEU embarked on an intensified campaign on sixth form college funding. This included a formal ballot for industrial action and following that ballot, NEU members in sixth form colleges took strike action on six days in October, November, February and March.  

Following consultation with members, a pay deal for September 2018 was reluctantly agreed. This allowed us to move our campaign forward and linked it to our 2019 pay claim (see below), the inadequate 2018 pay deal and the impact of funding on working conditions and job losses.   

Sixth form colleges should have implemented a pay increase for teachers, backdated to September 2018, as follows:

  • points 1 to 6 of the Pay Spine to be increased by 3 per cent;
  • points 7 to 9 to be increased by 1.5 per cent;
  • all other pay points including leadership points and responsibility allowances to be increased by one per cent;
  • London allowances to be increased by 1.5 per cent.

The deal recommended that sixth form college academies should make additional unconsolidated payments using their additional teachers’ pay grant. The NEU recommended additional payments of 0.5 per cent, so that the total 2018 pay increase matched that for school teachers.  

The pressures of reduced funding for colleges mean that jobs, pay and working conditions are all at risk, as well as curriculum provision, curriculum offer, enrichment and student support. Pay inequality between schools and colleges is increasing again.

Our consultation with teacher members showed strong support for action focused on the impact of the funding crisis. The campaign and ballot for action centres on a dispute with the Secretary of State as the ultimate source of funding, and it involves all our members in sixth form colleges.

Sixth form college teacher's pay from September 2019 

This pay claim sets out the formal position of the Staff Side in relation to sixth form college teachers' pay from September 2019.

The Staff Side is disappointed that the pay agreement for 2018-19 has resulted in the loss of the overall parity in teachers’ pay between the sixth form college and school sectors addressed by the 2015 pay structure agreement.

The Staff Side understands that the SFCA shares our wish to maintain and improve the position on teachers’ pay. The Staff Side in turn shares the ambition of the SFCA to secure high standards of education for students.

In order to achieve this aim, the 2019/20 pay agreement should have a threefold purpose - to attract teachers, to retain teachers and to motivate teachers. The Staff Side contends that a pay agreement which continues pay restraint will not fulfil any of these objectives and will demoralise and demotivate sixth form college teachers.

The SFCA will realise the need to ensure that the pay of its member colleges’ teaching staff is competitive with the pay of teachers elsewhere, including teachers employed in the maintained sector, academies and the independent sector. The SFCA must also take account of wider trends in relation to the employment of graduates and ensure that colleges are in a position to compete with overall pay levels, pay awards and pay progression opportunities and working conditions in other graduate professions. The SFCA will, further, need to take account of any additional funding that its members may receive in the form of a teachers pay grant.

The Staff Side continues to believe that the pay of all teachers, whatever their sector, is too low. The cumulative impact of Government policy on teachers’ pay since 2010, as translated into the pay structure in the sixth form college sector, means that the value of points on the Pay Spine for sixth form college teachers has been cut in real terms by about 16%, compared with inflation as measured by the Retail Prices Index (RPI), while changes to pensions and NI contributions have cut their take home pay. The comparative position of teachers’ pay relative to other professions and earnings generally has also declined.

The result is that teachers in all sectors are not sufficiently or appropriately rewarded for the nature of their work or for the level of workload that they face. The difficulties in attracting new recruits into teaching and retaining the existing workforce are directly traceable to this. Sixth form colleges are not excluded from the impact of this overall crisis in teacher supply

The loss of pay parity with the schools sector will add further to these difficulties for colleges, as well as ensuring that their teachers are even more badly treated in pay terms than their counterparts in schools. The Staff Side noted during last year’s negotiations the SFCA’s stated wish to maintain the parity in pay terms. The outcome of the 2018 pay agreement is a national pay structure for teachers in sixth form colleges which has fallen at least 0.5% behind that for schools. This is true even in those colleges which have made an unconsolidated increase as advised by the agreement. This loss of pay parity must be urgently addressed.

The Staff Side believes that pay for teachers generally must be significantly increased in order to address the teacher supply crisis identified above and prevent it becoming worse.

For sixth form college teachers, the lack of parity will undermine the national pay structure and employment relations nationally and locally if it is not resolved as soon as possible. The Staff Side pay claim for September 2019 is therefore for a substantial and above-inflation increase to all teacher pay points and allowances in 2019/20, which must also make good the loss of 0.5% in comparison to school teachers’ pay suffered from September 2018.

The Staff Side recognises the difficulties in funding faced by sixth form colleges, which have suffered greater real terms cuts than the school sector. Support for better funding to the sector will continue. The Staff Side does not, however, accept that these problems should determine the proposals made or agreement reached with regard to our members’ pay.

Should the Secretary of State accept the necessity of increasing pay and allocate additional funding to colleges for 2019-20 after any pay agreement for that year, the Staff Side would wish renewed negotiations to open immediately on pay without waiting for the usual “pay round”.

The Committee for Teaching Staff has previously agreed that it would be sensible to resume joint discussions on the issues of workload and working time. The Staff Side continues to propose updated, renewed and strengthened joint guidance on these areas. We hope that this can now be progressed in order to address these issues to the benefit of our members, their colleges and the students they teach

Sixth form college pay scales

Pay Spine Point                                                        Salary



















Responsibility allowances

Range: from £1,000 to £10,000

Teachers who were in post and paid on the Management Ranges prior to 1 September 2016 or other date of assimilation in the new structure should be paid on at least the following assimilation ranges in order to maintain their current pay point and expectations (see NJC transition guidance for full details):




















2.  Responsibility Allowances paid to teachers taking up their appointments on or after 1 September 2016 do not have to be based on the above ranges A1 to D3.

Leadership spine

SFC-L1          £  45,972
SFC-L2          £  47,153
SFC-L3          £  48,492
SFC-L4          £  48,979
SFC-L5          £  50,303
SFC-L5+        £  50,987
SFC-L6          £  51,673
SFC-L7          £  52,913
SFC-L8          £  54,182
SFC-L9          £  55,482
SFC-L10        £  56,815
SFC-L11        £  58,178
SFC-L12        £  59,574
SFC-L13        £  61,005
SFC-L14        £  62,469
SFC-L15        £  63,967
SFC-L16        £  65,503
SFC-L17        £  67,074
SFC-L18        £  68,684
SFC-L19        £  70,332
SFC-L20        £  72,022
SFC-L21        £  73,748
SFC-L22        £  75,519
SFC-L23        £  77,332
SFC-L24        £  79,188
SFC-L25        £  81,088
SFC-L26        £  83,033
SFC-L27        £  85,027

London and Fringe Area Allowances

Inner London         £3,859

Outer London        £2,571           

Fringe                     £1,019