Maintained sector

Most LA schools use the local government pay scales to pay their support staff in conjunction with National Joint Council (NJC) terms and conditions.

However, this can vary between local authorities, which means it is not possible to be prescriptive about the rate of pay support staff will receive. An employee's contract should state their rate of pay, the point on the local government pay scale that refers to, and how the rate will increase on an incremental basis to a certain point.

Academies and Free Schools

Whilst academies have the freedom to establish their own policies for pay and conditions, nearly all stand-alone academies and all Multi-Academy Trusts (MATs) have maintained the link to the Local Government pay arrangements, which means that they adhere to the pay agreements reached periodically, and also use the Local Government pay spine and the National Agreement on Pay and Conditions of Service – otherwise known as the Green Book.

Free schools have the ability to set their own pay, terms and conditions, without reference to the maintained sector.

Independent schools

Support staff in most independent schools are employed on a range of terms and conditions that are determined by their individual contracts Details of support staff pay should be included in a written school pay policy, and school policies on employment-related matters should be published in a staff handbook or on the school’s intranet.

In more than 100 independent schools, the NEU is recognised by the employer for collective bargaining purposes, and in most instances, the Recognition Agreement covers teachers and support staff. This means that NEU members at the school negotiate with management on their pay, hours, holidays and other matters.

Term-time-only contracts and pay

A term-time-only contract means that an employee is only employed (and paid) when the school is open - in most cases, for 38 or 39 weeks a year.

However, employees on term-time-only contracts are entitled by law to paid leave, and this entitlement is usually added on (but reduced on a pro rata basis) to the weeks worked to establish the overall salary. For example, if a school is open for 39 weeks and there is a leave entitlement of five weeks, then the employee must be paid for 39 weeks, plus their leave and bank holiday entitlement (reduced on a pro rata basis).The salary is then divided by 12 and paid in equal monthly instalments throughout the year to ensure that the employee receives regular payments.

Pay for term time workers should reflect their contractual working arrangements. If term time workers are required to undertake work outside of their contracted hours they must be appropriately remunerated. Any such additional hours should be incorporated into contractual arrangements if they are an ongoing feature of the post. This point also applies to staff employed on a 52 week pa contract.

Schools particularly should take steps to identify the hours required of support staff and to pay for all such hours. For example, staff, should be paid if required to attend INSET training days.

The future: Term-time-only pay creates a disparity in schools because teachers are paid all the year round and therefore receive a far greater paid leave entitlement than most support staff. The NEU believes that schools, local authorities and MATs should begin to address this issue, and work towards full-year paid contracts for all staff.

Single status agreement

The Single Status Agreement was signed in 1997 by the local government employers and the local government trade unions (Unison, GMB and Unite). Local authorities in England and Wales were given until 31st March 2007 to implement single status, but many have yet to do so.

The term 'single status' is shorthand for the harmonisation of pay and conditions across a local authority for comparable posts, including all non-teaching posts in schools. The main features are:

  • one pay spine, on which all employees are included
  • harmonisation of conditions of service
  • equal status for part-time employees
  • a standard working week of 37 hours or less
  • grading reviews using one job evaluation scheme.

The NEU's general advice to support staff members regarding any job evaluation process introduced as part of the roll-out of single status is as follows:

  • make sure that the job evaluation is based on your current job description, and that it includes all of your current duties
  • once the initial outcome of the evaluation is communicated to you, and if you are unhappy with it, raise any queries with your line manager, and ask for the decision to be reviewed
  • if in spite of this, you remain dissatisfied with the job evaluation, you will have a formal right of appeal against the decision - contact your NEU branch immediately for advice.

Where jobs are evaluated at an equal or higher pay rate to other comparable rates predominantly undertaken by a different gender, there may be a case for pursuing an equal pay claim.

Latest updates about support staff pay negotiations

April 2018

  • Agreement has now been finalised on a two year pay deal for employees covered by the Local Government bargaining arrangements, which includes maintained and (most) academy school support staff.
  • The agreement is for a two-year pay increase, payable from 1 April 2018. The majority of employees - those on Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) salaries starting at £19,430 per annum - will receive an uplift of 2 per cent on 1 April 2018 and a further 2 per cent on 1 April 2019, with those on lower salaries receiving higher increases.

December 2017

  • Employees covered by the Local Government bargaining arrangements, which includes maintained and most academy support staff, have been offered a two-year pay increase from 1 April 2018. The majority of employees - those on Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) salaries starting at £19,430 per annum - would receive an uplift of 2 per cent on 1 April 2018 and a further 2 per cent on 1 April 2019, with those on lower salaries receiving higher increases.
  • The offer also includes the introduction of a new national pay spine on 1 April 2019.
  • The total increase to the national pay bill resulting from this offer is 5.6 per cent over two years (covering the period 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2020).
  • The recognised Unions will meet shortly to consider the offer, and further updates on progress will be issued to NEU members in due course.

Local government pay scale for support staff

Spine point April 2017 April 2018 New spine point April 2019
6 £15,014 £16,394 1 £17,364
7 £15,115 £16,495 1 £17,364
8 £15,246 £16,626 2 £17,711
9 £15,375 £16,755 2 £17,711
10 £15,613 £16,863 3 £18,065
11 £15,807 £17,007 3 £18,065
12 £16,123 £17,173 4 £18,426
13 £16,491 £17,391 4 £18,426
14 £16,781 £17,681 5 £18,795
15 £17,072 £17,972 5 £18,795
16 £17,419 £18,319 6 £19,171
17 £17,772 £18,672 6 £19,171
18 £18,070 £18,870 7 £19,554
19 £18,746 £19,446 8 £19,945
20 £19,430 £19,819 9 £20,344
- - - 10 £20,751
21 £20,138 £20,541 11 £21,166
22 £20,661 £21,074 12 £21,589
- - - 13 £22,021
23 £21,268 £21,693 14 £22,462
24 £21,962 £22,401 15 £22,911
- - - 16 £23,369
25 £22,658 £23,111 17 £23,836
- - - 18 £24,313
26 £23,398 £23,866 19 £24,799
27 £24,174 £24,657 20 £25,295
- - - 21 £25,801
28 £24,964 £25,463 22 £26,317
29 £25,951 £26,470 23 £26,999
30 £26,822 £27,358 24 £27,905
31 £27,668 £28,221 25 £28,785
32 £28,485 £29,055 26 £29,636
33 £29,323 £29,909 27 £30,507
34 £30,153 £30,756 28 £31,371
35 £30,785 £31,401 29 £32,029
36 £31,601 £32,233 30 £32,878
37 £32,486 £33,136 31 £33,799
38 £33,437 £34,106 32 £34,788
39 £34,538 £35,229 33 £35,934
40 £35,444 £36,153 34 £36,876
41 £36,379 £37,107 35 £36,876
42 £37,306 £38,052 36 £36,876
43 £38,237 £39,002 37 £36,876
44 £39,177 £39,961 38 £36,876
45 £40,057 £40,858 39 £41,675
46 £41,025 £41,846 40 £42,683
47 £41,967 £42,806 41 £42,683
48 £42,899 £43,757 42 £44,632
49 £43,821 £44,697 43 £45,591

London weighting and fringe area

Area April 2017 April 2018 April 2019
Inner London £840 £857 £874
Outer London £585 £597 £609

Special educational needs

April 2017 April 2018 April 2019
£1,239 £1264 £1289