Pay and progression: our survey results

We recently sent out a survey to National Education Union members, asking for their views on teachers’ pay. Here’s what we found.

“Over one-third [of respondents] thought that their school’s policy on pay progression was unfair”

Annual cost of living

The survey asked about pay increases effective from September 2017 excluding any increases due to pay progression or promotion. Around one in five teachers (21%) had received no cost-of-living pay increase in September 2017, despite the uplift of 2% to the minimum and maximum of the main pay range and uplift of 1% to other ranges. A further 30% had not yet heard about their pay outcome at the time of completing the survey.

“One in five teachers (21%) had received no annual cost-of-living pay increase in September 2017"

Pay progression

Overall, 51% of all respondents were eligible for pay progression in September 2017. The remaining 49% of respondents comprised teachers on the upper pay range ineligible for progression due to being at the maximum or otherwise ineligible (37%); teachers on the maximum of the main pay range not applying for progression to the upper pay range (7%); and new entrants to teaching in September 2017 (5%).

Pay progression by pay range

Compared to our survey in 2016, the chances of achieving pay progression had improved slightly for those on both the main and the upper pay ranges, but declined for those on the leadership pay range. Teachers on the upper pay range were still more than four times more likely to have been denied progression than colleagues on the main pay range.

Results by sector

As in previous years, academies and free schools were more likely to have denied their teachers pay progression than local authority-maintained schools. Some 17% of teachers in L.A.-maintained schools who were eligible for progression and knew their outcome had been denied progression, unchanged from last year. The equivalent figure for both academies and free schools was 20%, slightly down on the figures from our previous survey.

Difference between primary and secondary

 Overall, the difference in progression rates between teachers in the primary and secondary phases was lower than in the 2016 survey. National Education Union Survey on Pay & Pay Progression for 2017 7 Among primary teachers, some 18% of respondents who knew their outcome had been denied progression, unchanged from last year’s figure. Among secondary teachers, the figure was 19%, down from 21% last year and 22% the year before.

Characteristics of teachers denied pay progression

“The teachers most likely not to have received a cost-of-living pay increase were female, disabled, LGBT+, non White British and part-time teachers”

The category of teachers most likely to be denied progression was, as in previous years, those teachers working part-time. For those eligible part-time teachers who knew their outcome, they were twice as likely to have been denied progression (34%) than their fulltime colleagues (17%). This showed little change from last year’s figures of 38% and 18%. This lower rate of pay progression for part time teachers is also reflected in pay progression data we have obtained from individual employers.

Impact on appraisal

“Almost half of teachers thought that linking pay to appraisal had damaged appraisal for professional development purposes and had caused teachers significantly extra work”

When asked about their own appraisal, 48% of respondents said that they believed that linking pay progression to appraisal had caused them significant extra work, with 26% saying that they had been required to produce additional evidence beyond that necessary for appraisal purposes to demonstrate that they had met progression requirements. 40% believed that linking progression to appraisal had undermined the usefulness of appraisal for professional development purposes.

Where are we now?

Teachers are not being provided with basic information on pay matters and the concept of schools having an individual pay policy, locally determined and setting out how decisions involving the use of discretion will be taken, is still very far from being established and recognised (let alone accepted) among teachers.

Find out more in the full Pay and Progression survey results
07 February 2018