Teachers in England and Wales have voted to strike, as contentious anti-strike legislation passed its first Commons test. Nine out of 10 of the National Education Union’s (NEU) teacher members voted for strike action, and the union exceeded the legally required 50% turnout.
The union has declared seven days of walkouts in February and March, but it has stated that only four of those days will be felt by any given school. The first day of strikes will be on Wednesday 1 February and more than 23,000 schools in England and Wales are expected to be affected, the NEU has said.
The Department for Education (DfE) has offered a 5% pay rise to most teachers for the current school year, but the NEU is demanding a fully-funded above inflation pay rise for teachers.
Mary Bousted and Kevin Courtney Courtney, joint NEU general secretaries, said in a statement: “We have continually raised our concerns with successive education secretaries about teacher and support staff pay, and its funding in schools and colleges, but instead of seeking to resolve the issue they have sat on their hands. It is disappointing that the Government prefers to talk about yet more draconian anti-strike legislation, rather than work with us to address the causes of strike action.”
So just what is the average wage for a teacher in the UK, and how much do they earn? Here is everything you need to know.
What is the average UK wage for teachers?
(All figures via Get Into Teaching)
The average salary for a teacher will depend on how long you have been qualified and where in the UK you are based. Pay increases are always be linked to performance, not length of service, and will be reviewed every year.
For a newly qualified teacher in England and Wales the average salary you can expect is between £28,000 to £44,756, with the higher end of the spectrum being offered in London.
The average salary for a teacher in England and Wales excluding London is between £28,000 to £38,810. In London teaching wages are higher, with the average wage depending on how close you are to the centre.
If you are on the fringes of London your average salary is between £29,344 to £40,083. If you are in outer London the average salary is between £32,407 to £43,193, and for inner London you can expect to earn from £34,502 to £44,756.
But union leaders have said that historic real-terms pay cuts for teachers had created an “unsustainable situation” in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis, adding that staff were leaving the profession “in droves”.
Have teachers been offered a pay rise?
In England, the NEU is looking for a pay rise of 12% rather than the 5% offered so far by the government for most teachers. The unions say teachers’ pay has fallen by about 24% relative to inflation since 2010.
In July last year, the government said teachers would benefit from pay increases of between 5% and 8.9% from September 2022, after accepting the recommendations of the independent School Teachers’ Review Body for this academic year.
In Wales, unions have been campaigning for months for a better pay deal, after rejecting the 5% increase offered by the Welsh government in November, calling it an "insult".
Education Secretary Gillian Keegan has said teaching is still an “attractive profession”, ahead of strikes in the sector. She was asked on LBC whether the pay for teachers is enough.
“That’s what we looked at in terms of what’s going to attract new recruits and what’s going to attract graduates,” she said. “We still attract a lot of teachers. Where we struggle a little bit more is with maths and science and computer science.
“So what we’ve done there is we’ve put additional payments in place for those and we’ve also offered bursaries of £27,000 and scholarships as well so that you get a lot of money towards your fees.”