Press release

More freedom on teachers' pay

Information on plans to give schools more freedom over how they pay their teachers.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Schools will from this September get more freedom over how they pay their teachers, Education Secretary Michael Gove confirmed today.

This follows recommendations from an independent review body which last year called on the government to link teachers’ pay more closely to their performance.

Evidence shows that improving the quality of teaching is essential to driving up standards in schools. Pupils taught by good teachers score nearly half a GCSE point more per subject than pupils taught by poor teachers. The impact is even more significant for pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds, according to the Sutton Trust. For poor pupils, the difference between a very good teacher and a bad teacher may be a whole year’s education.

Under the current system for teachers’ pay:

  • automatic pay progression means there is a poor link between a teacher’s performance and reward
  • schools in some parts of the country struggle to recruit and retain good teachers

The School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB), which makes recommendations to government on teachers’ pay reforms, called for greater freedom for schools to set teachers’ pay in its report.

From September, a new simpler, more flexible national pay framework for teachers will come into effect. It will:

  • end pay increases based on length of service - currently virtually all full time classroom teachers on the main pay scale automatically progress to the next pay point
  • link all teachers’ pay progression to performance, based on annual appraisals - already the case for some teachers who are on a higher pay scale
  • abolish mandatory pay points within the pay scales for classroom teachers to give schools greater freedom on how much teachers are paid. They would remain in place for reference only in the main pay scale to guide career expectations for new teachers entering the profession
  • retain the higher pay bands for London and fringe areas

At the time of publishing its report, Dame Patricia Hodgson, Chair of the STRB, said:

We believe our recommendations will help schools to recruit, retain and reward the best teachers. It will give heads freedom to manage teachers’ pay according to pupil needs and local circumstances, within a fair national framework.

Accepting the STRB’s recommendation in December 2012, Education Secretary Michael Gove said:

These recommendations will make teaching a more attractive career and a more rewarding job. They will give schools greater flexibility to respond to specific conditions and reward their best teachers.

It is vital that teachers can be paid more without having to leave the classroom. This will be particularly important to schools in the most disadvantaged areas as it will empower them to attract and recruit the best teachers.

Ministers asked the STRB last year to look at how reforms could be made to help address the quality of teaching, along with raising the status of the profession and supporting the recruitment and retention of teachers in different areas of the country. The STRB gathered evidence from a wide range of stakeholders, including the Government, governors’ associations, and teacher and head teacher unions in reaching its final recommendations.


This relates to England and Wales.

Notes to editors:

  1. A copy of the Education Secretary Michael Gove’s letter to the chair of the STRB is attached.

  2. The School Teachers’ Review Body report and the Government’s response from December 2012 are online.

  3. University of Bristol research on the impact of the quality of teachers on attainment, “Do teachers matter? Measuring the variation in teacher effectiveness in England”, can be found online.

  4. Sutton Trust research on teaching and its impact on pupil performance, “Improving the impact of teachers on pupil achievement in the UK - interim findings, September 2011” can be found online.

  5. The Government’s Initial Training Strategy - Training our next generation of outstanding teachers - published last year can be found online. It sets out a series of reforms to recruit the very best into teaching and a greater role for schools in training. This includes: * encouraging more primary specialist teachers to be trained * offering graduates with first-class degrees in physics, chemistry, maths and modern foreign languages significantly better financial incentives to train as teachers * requiring all trainees to have high standards of mathematics and English by requiring trainees to pass a tougher literacy and numeracy tests before they start training * allowing and encouraging schools to lead their own high-quality initial teacher training * giving schools a stronger influence over the content of ITT training as well as the recruitment and selection of trainees.

  6. The School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB) considers aspects of teachers’ pay and conditions for just under half a million teachers and school leaders in England and Wales. Its work has a direct impact on teachers and headteachers and through them on the education of children.

The STRB was established under the terms of the School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Act 1991 (as replaced by the Education Act 2002). It is a statutory independent advisory body. Its function is to consider matters referred to it by the Secretary of State for Education in relation to the remuneration, professional duties or working time of school teachers and to report to the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State.

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Published 15 January 2013