DfE’s 2020 teacher pay proposals: Rise will cost schools £455m, plus 6 more findings


The Department for Education has published its recommendations on teacher pay for September 2020. We’ve got a news story on the main findings here (£26k starting salaries and 2.5% rise for senior staff).

The DfE’s full submission to the School Teachers’ Review Body has some super interesting findings, so here’s everything you need to know.


1. The 3% pay rise will cost schools £455m

The proposed pay increase works out at a 3 per cent increase in the total pay bill for teachers. This will cost schools £455 million (across the seven months of the 2020-21 financial year affected by the 2020 pay award).

While this is classed as the “biggest sustained uplift in teacher pay since 2005”, it does take a big chunk out of the government’s promised additional £2.6 billion funding for next year.

As £780m of this is for SEND funding, and now with another £455 million swallowed up by teacher pay rises – it means around £1.4 billion is left.


2. Pay grants from previous years WILL continue

The government said it was “important to be clear” that the teachers’ pay grant from 2018 and 2019 will continue next year.

The department intends to roll the funding into the national funding formula and is part of the overall increases in funding. However they won’t be offering any additional cash to cover the proposed pay rise. As covered here, the government think their suggestion is “affordable for schools”.


3. The DfE’s 3 pay proposals …

The DfE has put forward three options for how pay scales could be uplifted. They are …

Option A:


Option B:


Option C:



The pay rises also count for London schools, however as they already have higher starting salaries and typically lower pay progression increases in their early career – the pay structures are already closer to the government’s reform aims.

Consequently, the pay award for the London pay areas will involve slightly lower uplifts to starting salary than for the rest of England (given their more generous starting position). But starting salaries will rise in outer and inner London to £30,000 and £32,000, respectively – a rise of up to 6.7 per cent. (The full London pay scales are on page 32 here).


4 … But they prefer B

The DfE said this option “balances providing the necessary increases to starting and early career salaries to address recruitment and retention challenges”.

It makes 29 per cent of the progress towards the £30k starting salary promised by 2022, whilst providing a “significant, real terms, increase to the upper and leadership pay ranges to support an attractive career pathway for teachers”.


5. How your pay will look by 2022

The government has already promised to up starting salaries to £30k by 2022-23 – however this will mean flatter pay rises for early career teachers. Here’s how they envisage the pay scales will look by 2022.


A graph illustrating the flatter pay rises:


And in London:

6. There’s big uncertainty around DfE’s claim 1k fewer teachers will leave

The government has done some workings out to produce an estimate of the benefits of the new pay structure (it’s quite complex to condense down here, but if you’re interested it’s on page 44).

Anyway, the upshot if the government reckons more than 1,000 extra teachers will be retained each year by 2022 (although the change represents just 0.25 of a percentage point of the current leaver rate of 9.8 percentage points).

But, the DfE says there is “significant uncertainty around this estimate”. They also admit it doesn’t mean there will necessarily be a fall in the number of leaves by 1,000 as “that will depend on a number of economic and other factors which impact on the teacher labour market in the interim”.

7. Upper pay range a goner?

The DfE has asked the pay board to consider whether they want to “consider the role of progressions to the upper pay range in the future”. This is pretty woolly.

But, with the plan to move towards a less steep pay progression (as starting salaries will be massively hiked up to £30k), the DfE poses the question whether an upper range would continue to be a “valuable feature”.

The other option to consider is an opportunity to simplify the framework and create a “streamlined progression structure across a single classroom teacher pay range”. But any change won’t be introduced until 2020.




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  1. As a headteacher, I would welcome the class teacher pay spine being simplified. The whole upper range, leading practitioners range etc really reduces flexibility for staff, causes confusion over pay and there is lots of vague guidance regarding the management of this. A single 9 point pay range with additional pay awards that can be used flexibly to recognise staff who take on extra duties would be much easier to manage. I also find it rather incongruous that the DfE appesr to have published spine points when they have only legislated for minimum and maximum salaries for the past few years. A quick straw poll of my local heads showed we are all on variations of the NASWT published scale but there is variation of over 1000 pounds in some cases. Going back to a clear nation scale for basic pay is needed. So recruitment is transparent and schools can publish what additions they can offer and not disguise their M5 as a ‘national’ M5. We have lost staff to schools offering TLR but who have since shared with us that they haven’t seen the increase in salary they were hoping for as the main scales used did not match union scales. So the TLR just replaced a certain element of basic pay that was missing.

  2. Ania Hildrey

    In principle – great! BUT… only if funded properly.

    Additional issue which appears to go unnoticed/unaddressed, is how schools, most of which rely heavily on the expertise of support staff (class based and business support), could further attract, financially reward and retain the best specialists in the field. Whether business managers, classroom assistants or increasing numbers of the ‘fourth emergency service’ safeguarding and family support teams, schools must be funded properly to carry out the duties currently placed on them.

    • It is their not there! I wouldn't want you as a TA, if you can't spell that correctly. They also don't work anywhere near as hard as teachers. You clearly have no idea what the job involves.

      It is their not there! I wouldn’t want you as a TA, if you can’t even spell that correctly. Added to this your grammar is appalling, I have Year 3 writing better sentences. You shouldn’t be a TA if you write so badly, let alone receive a pay rise.

      TAs don’t work anywhere near as hard as teachers. You clearly have no idea what the job involves.

      • Clara Crabtree

        Wow, that was a tad arrogant and a massive over generalisation – what about the teachers who phone in it?

        Not sure how you deplou your TA’s but ours don’t tend to write sentences, they have a far more important role… You clearly don;t know what the job involves!

        They ensure that SEND students get equal access to mainstream education.

        Often to then be ignored by conceited teachers who seem to think it is a TA’s job to teach pupils with SEND.

        • These teachers are always wanting more.

          Teachers start work 7am some 7.30am. Teachers finish or leave school 5pm some 6pm.

          Teachers still mark and plan late into the evening, assessments, reports, themed weeks, safeguarding and other emails that need attention to which they couldn’t do during their PPA or in their half an hour lunch because of pastoral care etc. At home time, they are busy dealing with parents and their queries. Back in class busy tidying up and setting classroom ready for next day or staff meeting. Task are important, so are the office staff and the cleaners and the lunch organisers.

          Really sorry but you cant compare TAs to teachers not even send childrens management unless you’ve been through 3 years rigorous training, observation, scrutiny and the late nights.

          Challenge if TAs can teach under the teaching standards, full book scrutiny, lesson observation, long working hours assessment, planning, differentiate. marking, feedback, deal with disruptive parents etc then you should get teachers pay.
          Teaching Assistants are NOT teachers but teaching assistant who should always support their class teacher first and always work with the class teacher to support the children . I was a teaching as first , now I work as a teacher with amazing teachers and TA’s

    • Sophie Good

      Laura, TAs do not work just as hard as teachers. They don’t have the responsibility or the accountability, and this is reflected in their job description, hours worked and payscale.

      However, if you know one that does, tell them to get a teachig degree!

  3. S. Johnston

    TAs have been teaching in our primary school throughout this pandemic. They have been responsible for teaching a bubble on their own of up to 15 children every day. Before the Coronavirus TAs were teaching interventions for numeracy and literacy, holding daily phonics lessons for groups of children, sometimes up to 20 children in a group, as well as supervising hundreds of children at lunchtimes. The TAs get paid around £8 an hour and receive no overtime despite arriving early in order to prepare and leave late in order to complete paperwork. Our TAs just get on and do this out of the good will in their hearts. They are not doing this for ‘pin’ money either. Many are single mothers who are trying to juggle a work and home life and ALL of their monthly salary…yes ALL of it goes on their rent. Bills, good, clothing and everything else has to be made up for by working tax credits. These TAs will not be able to improve their prospects as there is no career ladder, unless they want to train to become a teacher which is not an option for them personally or financially. They began working as teaching assistants to do precisely that – support teachers in school. The job began as classroom support – photocopying, laminating, sharpening pencils etc and now it is basically a supply teacher role which over the last three months has required them to be full time teachers risking their own lives on the frontline in a pandemic, also I might add, not wearing a mask or any PPE as it might scare the children. Please do not insult my hardworking colleagues. They deserve your full support just as they give you theirs, and deserve a decent wage just like you.

    • SarahS

      I couldn’t agree more the TA role has developed into a fundamental position in the school. TAs do far more than what you would expect for the pay grade and hours in any other industry. Whilst as a teacher there is definitely more pressure, it is undeniable how hard TAs work.

  4. Hello,
    How about school site teams? Site managers, site assistants, caretakers, cleaners, administration workers, kitchen staff, receptionists, minibus drivers? Apology if I didn’t mentioned a group which actually made possible for school to remained open since March. YES! Many schools were opened during the national lock down but for some reason nobody never said that nor gave an appraisal to the people making it possible. Those same people will work hard during the six weeks holidays( when teachers are going to be on well deserved one and a half month break;) to make sure all schools are ready for September. People on the bottom of the food chain are always forgotten even if only just thanks to those people our schools are still going. Head teacher will be given(well deserved;) 3% pay raise on the top of 100 thousand wage and wouldn’t even notice it, give this well deserved £3000 pay raise to caretaker on £16000 and you would improve his family life standard in those harsh times. World got crazy and there is no justice any more where rich people are ruling the world. Sorry for my bad spelling, I am sure there will be a teacher supping a cocktail willing to mark it up:) Thank you.


    How arrogant. I have been Teaching 34 years and all School Staff are valuable – T.A. ‘s Cleaners. Caretakers. Dinner Ladies .Secretary’s etc. You are the same as them when out of School just a human being. Arrogance and ego should be left at the School gate.