Become a Teacher

Becoming a teacher can bring incredible rewards, but it's not all about 12 weeks holiday a year and leaving school at 3.30pm each day. These days there is immense pressure from both the government and parents for children to get excellent exam results.

And, of course, there are other activities for you to undertake apart from teaching. These include weekly lesson planning, after school clubs, parent/ teacher associations, governors meetings, putting up school displays, fund raising events, and parents' evenings.

But don't let that workload put you off because this vocational career has additional rewards such as seeing the children you teach flourish as they develop from your guidance.

Teaching Qualifications

The teaching qualifications required to teach pupils in primary or secondary schools varies depending on what qualifications you already possess.

Usually, you'll need to have Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) to teach in state schools gained through initial teacher training (ITT) including practical work experience within schools.

Many people know they wish to teach before they start university and opt for a Bachelor of Education (BEd) course which takes three to four years and is the most popular route for those wishing to teach in primary schools.

There are also two post-graduate programmes.

A Postgraduate Certification of Education is an add-on year at college or university solely focused on the practical aspects of teaching in schools. Or, you may take the School Centred Initial Teaching Training Programme (SCITT) if you have been out of the education system for a while. Find your route into teaching at the Prospects website.

Teacher Salary Levels

Teacher salary levels have improved in recent times, and a newly qualified teacher (NQT) in London can expect to earn £32,157 in their first year (and £25,714 outside of London). Both of these represent an increase of 14.5% above the salary scales of 2016/17 shown at the bottom of this page.

The pay scales for teachers seems to be overly complicated with many levels, ranges, and points-based additional payments. The chart below shows the basic salary for a classroom teacher in England and Wales in the Main Pay Scale (MPS) and Upper Pay Scale (UPS).

Teacher Pay Scale Chart 2020/21

Salary LevelInner LondonOuter LondonLondon FringeRest of UK
HT Max£125,098£120,513£118,356£117,197
HT Min£55,715£51,082£48,901£47,735
LP Max£72,480£67,828£65,631£64,461
LP Min£50,415£45,766£43,570£42,402
UPR Max£50,935£45,766£42,780£41,604
UPR Min£46,971£42,559£39,864£38,690
MPR Max£42,624£41,136£38,174£36,961
MPR Min£32,157£29,915£26,948£25,714
UT Max£33,410£32,151£29,924£28,735
UT Min£22,849£21,582£19,363£18,169

Key: HT: Headteachers, LP: Leading Practitioners, UPR: Upper Pay Range, MPR: Main Pay Range; UT: Unqualified Teachers.

Figures in quoted in brackets are for inner London. Source: Department of Education. To check your salary including leadership levels and additional payments use the TES salary calculator.

Inner London Boroughs

The inner London area includes Barking & Dagenham, Brent, Camden, Corporation of London, Ealing, Greenwich, Hackney, Hammersmith & Fulham, Haringey, Kensington & Chelsea, Lambeth, Lewisham, Merton, Newham, Southwark, Tower Hamlets, Wandsworth, and Westminster.

Outer London Boroughs

The outer London area includes Barnet, Bexley, Bromley, Croydon, Enfield, Harrow, Havering, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Kingston-upon-Thames, Redbridge, Richmond-upon-Thames, Sutton, and Waltham Forest.

London Fringe Pay Areas

The London Fringe catchment area includes the following:

  • In Berkshire: Bracknell Forest, Slough and Windsor and Maidenhead.
  • Buckinghamshire: South Buckinghamshire and Chiltern.
  • Essex: Basildon, Brentwood, Epping Forest, Harlow and Thurrock.
  • Hertfordshire: Broxbourne, Dacorum, East Hertfordshire, Hertsmere, St. Albans, Three Rivers, Watford and Welwyn Hatfield.
  • Kent: Dartford and Sevenoaks.
  • Surrey: The whole county.
  • West Sussex: Crawley.

Teaching Careers

Primary Schools

Primary school teachers move up the pay scale as outlined above but may be entitled to additional payments under the advanced school teachers award. These are for teachers who want to continue teaching in the classroom but devote one day per week sharing their skills and knowledge in other areas such as producing teaching materials.

A teacher can also move into management either as a literacy coordinator, all the key stages coordinator (KS1, KS2, etc.), assistant headteacher, deputy head and then onto being a headteacher.

Secondary Schools

Secondary school teachers are on the same pay scale as shown above but generally they are in larger schools so have different jobs. NQTs start as a classroom teacher and can move up to be an advance school teacher. Secondary schools also have heads of year, department heads (heads of faculty), key stage coordinators, assistant headteachers and head teacher or principal. They may also have sports coordinators as well as other staff who work the office and library.

Additional Historic Pay Data

Teacher Pay Scale Chart 2016/7

Salary LevelInner LondonOuter LondonLondon FringeRest of UK
MPS 1£28,098£26,139£23,547£22,467
MPS 2£29,563£27,759£25,321£24,243
MPS 3£31,103£29,477£27,269£26,192
MPS 4£32,724£31,302£29,292£28,207
MPS 5£35,242£33,957£31,508£30,430
MPS 6£38,241£36,906£34,249£33,160
UPS 1£43,184£39,127£36,650£35,571
UPS 2£45,306£40,575£37,966£36,889
UPS 3£46,829£42,077£39,331£38,250

Source: GetintoTeaching