Teachers pay and progression survey 2023

This annual National Education Union survey is the largest survey on teachers’ pay increases and pay progression in England each year.


Our survey this year shows a picture of a broken progression system, with cash-strapped schools making unreasonable demands on teachers in order for them to progress through the salary structure. Instead of progression payments rewarding extra experience and ability in the classroom, these are being tied to taking on additional roles and responsibilities that should be paid for in separate allowances. These allowances are often not paid, or paid at levels below the national minimum levels. As such, it is no surprise that over three-quarters of teachers have considered quitting over poor levels of pay, the unfair progression system or both.

Key Findings

Teachers’ view on pay and progression

Among all respondents:

  • 78% have considered leavingteaching because of low pay or the unfairness of PRP;
  • 80% of teachers feel underpaid given their job role, responsibilities andworkload.

Pay progression for September 2023

Among all teachers:

  • 45% said they were eligible for pay progression;
  • 35% said they were ineligible due to being at their scale maximum;
  • 6% said they were ineligible due to being new entrants to teaching;
  • 10% said they were ineligible for “other reasons”, many of which also amounted to progressiondenial;
  • 6% said they were eligible forprogression but did not apply.

Among teachers eligible to be considered for pay progression (45% of the total response):

  • 78% received progression;
  • 6% were denied progression;
  • the remaining 16% still did not know their employer’s decision when completing the survey;
  • overall, 7% of those who knew the outcome of their pay progression decision were denied. Teachers were more likely to be denied progression if they were:
  • In older age groups
  • Working part-time
  • Working in primary schools
  • On the UPR

Among those turned down for progression:

  • 21% were explicitly told that the decision was due to funding or budgetary constraints;
  • 96% were given no indication during the year that they were failing to meet the required standards, including 55% who had no mid-year review;
  • 92% felt that thedecision was unfair but 82% chosenot toappealthe decision.

Responsibility expectations on the UPR

Among those on the UPR or at the top of the MPR:

  • 62% said their school expects teachers on the UPR to undertake specific additional responsibilities which are not recognised with a TLR payment

Teaching and Learning Responsibility (TLR) payments

Among all respondents:

  • 31% currently receive aTLR payment
  • 68% do not currently receivea TLR payment Of those in receipt of a TLR payment:
  • 33% said the payment was about what they would expect,giventhe responsibility
  • 66% said the payment was lower than they would expect, given the responsibility Among part-timers who receive TLR payments:
  • 25% perform the full responsibilities of the TLR role, and are paid the TLR in full
  • 9% perform part of the responsibilities of the TLR role, and receive a pro-rated TLR amount in line with their part-time salary
  • 60% perform the full responsibilities of the TLR role, but are only paid a pro-rated TLR amount, in line with their part-timesalary

Of those not currently in receipt of a TLR payment:

  • 40% said their current responsibilities should qualify them for a TLR Teachers were more likely to receive a TLR payment if they were:
  • Male
  • Working full-time
  • Working in London
  • Teaching in secondary schools

Among teachers who receive a TLR payment, median levels were often below the minima set out in the STPCD:

Median TLR payments by phase
Primary and Nursery£2,500£3,017£1,800
Special and PRU£3,109£3,213£2,700
  • 57% of teachers who receive a TLR payment were paid below the national minimum level for their TLR band.

Special Educational Needs (SEN) allowances

Among all teachers:

  • Only 7% of teachers receive an SEN allowance;
  • In special schoolsand PRUs 87% receive an SEN allowance, but 12% still do not. Of those in receipt of an SEN allowance:
  • 28% said the payment was about what they would expect,giventhe responsibility;
  • 72% said the payment was lower than they would expect, given theresponsibility;
  • The median SEN allowance levelis £2,500, the same acrossall school phases. Of those not currently in receipt of an SEN allowance:
  • 16% say the responsibilities they currently undertake should qualify them for an SEN allowance

Recruitment and retention payments

  • Only 2% of teachers say they currently receive a recruitmentand retention payment
  • Median recruitment and retention bonuses are as follows:
Median recruitment and retention bonuses paid by phase
Primary/nurserySecondarySpecial & PRUTotal

Pay increases

Among all respondents:

  • 78% said they had received apay increase in line with the national increase
  • 1% said they had received a pay increase but that it was less than the national increase
  • 0% said they had received a pay increase but that it was more than the national increase
  • 1% said their school told themthatteachers would not receive any cost of living increase
  • 8% said no decision had yet been taken
  • The remaining 12% did not know whetheror not they had received an increase

Pay structures

Among all respondents:

  • 87% saytheir school retainsa six-point scale for the Main Pay Range (MPR) and a three-point scale for the Upper Pay Range (UPR)
  • 3% say their school does not use a structure with six points on the MPR and three points on the UPR
  • 10% do not know

Among those who say their school retains a six-point MPR and three-point UPR scale:

  • 78% say they are in line with STPCD
  • 7% say the are lower at some or all points
  • 1% say they are higher at some or all points

Progression when taking maternity leave

An analysis of progression outcomes for 785 teachers who took maternity leave in 2022/23 shows these teachers are routinely misinformed about their eligibility for pay progression or discouraged from applying.

Those who had taken maternity leave were:

  • more likely tosay they were ineligibleto progress (19%)
  • less likely to apply when eligible (9%)
  • more likely to have been denied progression (9% of those who were eligible and knew their progression outcome).

Working time

Among all respondents:

  • 77% have kept the same contracted hours as last year
  • 6% reduced their hours in the past year due to excessive workload and its impact on life
  • 4% increased their contracted hours in the past year due to concerns over rising living costs
  • 4% changed their contracted hours in the past year for a different reason Among part-timeteachers:
  • 54% kept the same contracted hoursas last year
  • 22% reduced their hours in the past year due to excessive workload and its impact on life
  • 8% increased their contracted hours in the past year due to concerns over rising living costs
  • 14% have changed their contracted hours in the past year for a different reason

Pay policy and appraisals

Among all respondents:

  • Only 62% say their school made them aware of the school’s pay policy and where to find it;
  • Less than half (46%) think their school’s pay policy is fair;
  • 13% think it is unfair;
  • 41% do not know what is in their school’s pay policy. Among all respondents:
  • 26% say pupil performance is the main driver of appraisal outcomes;
  • 39% say pupil performance is one piece of evidence used to determine appraisal outcomes;
  • 35% say pupil performance does not form part of appraisal objectives.
Back to top