For teaching the next generation of citizens you’re entitled to a competitive salary, generous holidays, and a substantial pension.

Teaching salaries

As a new teacher, your salary will be between £25,714 and £32,157, depending on where you teach.

On average, established teachers earn more than this.

Average teaching salaries for 2021/22 are:

  Average salary
Primary school teachers £36,000
Secondary school teachers £39,000
Leadership teachers (e.g. head of department) £56,400
Headteachers £73,500


You’ll get more days holiday than people in many other professions. In school, full-time teachers work 195 days per year.

For comparison, you’d work 227 days per year (on average) if you worked full time in an office.

Teachers’ pension scheme

The teachers’ pension scheme is one of the most generous in the country. It is a ‘final salary’ scheme, which gives you a regular source of income when you retire. It is:

  • based on your teaching salary rather than the amount of money you pay in
  • registered with HM Revenue and Customs - so your contributions are tax-free
  • flexible and allows you to take some of it as a tax-free lump sum

Establishing yourself as a teacher

As well as pay, holidays and a pension, all teachers are given extra support during their first 2 years in teaching. During this time, teachers are called ‘early career teachers’ (ECTs).

The support includes:

  • paid time away from classroom teaching to focus on learning
  • access to a range of high-quality training
  • a mentor who will give you guidance and support

This extra support used to last 1 year, and teachers would be called ‘newly qualified teachers’ (NQTs).

Career progression

There are different ways to progress and increase your salary.

For example, you can move into a more senior role, or take on additional responsibilities that help your school.

Qualified teacher pay

The school you teach in will have their own pay scales for qualified teachers. Pay increases will always be linked to performance, not length of service.

Annual salary ranges for qualified teachers are:

Area Minimum Maximum
London £26,948 £42,624
Rest of England and Wales £25,714 £36,961

Senior teacher pay

If you take on extra responsibilities, like being a head of department, you can be put onto a higher pay scale.

Teachers in this pay scale are important members of a school’s leadership team, and they often work closely with Headteachers.

Annual salary ranges for senior teachers are:

Area Minimum Maximum
London £39,864 £50,935
Rest of England and Wales £38,690 £41,604

Leading practitioner pay

If you’re an established and exceptional teacher, and regularly show the highest standards of classroom teaching, you can be put onto a higher pay scale.

Although they may not lead departments, leading practitioners coach and mentor other teachers and induct trainees and early career teachers (ECTs).

The pay scales for leading practitioners are:

Area Minimum Maximum
London £43,750 £72,480
Rest of England and Wales £42,402 £64,461

Headteacher pay

A headteacher is the most senior person in a school. They are ultimately responsible for all teachers and pupils.

Their role is wide ranging, but includes leading and motivating teachers, and ensuring all pupils get a good education.

Annual salary ranges for headteachers are:

Area Minimum Maximum
London £43,356 £125,098
Rest of England and Wales £47,195 £117,197

Other payments

You might also get extra payments for taking on extra responsibilities.

These payments are called ‘teaching and learning responsibility’ (TLR) payments. The extra responsibilities you might take on are:

  • progressing the education of people beyond your assigned pupils
  • leading, developing and enhancing the teaching practice of others
  • TLR payments come in 2 main pay ranges (TLR 1 and TLR 2) depending on your responsibilities.
Level Minimum Maximum
TLR 1 £8,291 £14,030
TLR 2 £2,873 £7,017

Unqualified teacher pay

Many schools in England require teachers to have ‘qualified teacher status’ (QTS). If you do not have this, you can work in some schools as an unqualified teacher.

Annual salary ranges for unqualified teachers are:

Area Minimum Maximum
London £19,363 £33,410
Rest of England and Wales £18,169 £28,735