You are here:
- 1 Overview
- 2 Stage 1: defining the role and determining the headteacher group
- 3 Stage 2: setting the indicative pay range
- 4 Stage 3: deciding the starting salary and individual pay range
- 5 Examples
- 6 Leadership pay spine points have been removed
- 7 Permanent discretionary payments have been removed
- 8 Increases in pupil and staff numbers
- 4 external links
The rules for determining the pay of teachers in maintained schools are set out in the School Teachers' Pay and Conditions Document (STPCD). Academies and free schools can set their own pay and conditions, but may choose to follow the STPCD.
Headteachers, deputy headteachers and assistant headteachers will be paid on a leadership pay range, which is between £39,374 and £116,738 per year.
SLT salary ranges will vary according to role and school size
Senior leadership team (SLT) salary ranges will vary according to role and school size. Teachers’ pay is also determined by location, as there are separate values for ranges for:
- England and Wales, excluding the London area
- Inner London
- Outer London
- The London fringe area
When to determine the pay range
Section 2 paragraph 4.1 of the 2017 STPCD says that the framework for leadership pay introduced in 2014 should only be used to determine pay where:
- There is a new appointment on or after 1 September 2014
- Responsibilities of existing appointments have changed significantly on or after that date
Paragraph 4.2 says that schools may also choose to review pay for those on the leadership pay range if they decide that this is required to maintain consistency either with:
- Pay arrangements for new appointments to the leadership group made on or after 1 September 2014, or
- Pay arrangements for a member or members of the leadership group whose responsibilities changed significantly on or after that date
Otherwise, the STPCD does not allow for schools to choose to review pay ranges for those on the leadership group appointed before 1 September 2014.
QuickRead: leadership pay
We have summarised when to review pay, and the process for determining leadership pay in just one page in one of our QuickReads.
You can read it and download it to print out here.
DfE advice on process
The DfE has published guidance on changes to school teachers’ and leaders’ pay. It recommends following a three-stage process when setting pay for new appointments to leadership posts.
We look at this process in more detail below. The 3 stages are:
- Defining the role and determining the headteacher group
- Setting the indicative pay range
- Deciding the starting salary and individual pay range
Stage 1: defining the role and determining the headteacher group
Page 31 of the DfE’s guidance explains that this stage is to be used to define the job and identify the broad pay range for the role.
The relevant body must determine an appropriate pay range ...
Section 2 paragraph 9.2 of the STPCD (linked to above) says that for leadership group posts, the relevant body must determine an appropriate pay range, taking into account:
- All of the permanent responsibilities of the role
- Any challenges specific to the role
- All other relevant considerations
Determining the headteacher group
Section 2 paragraph 5.1 of the STPCD says that for headteacher posts, the relevant body must assign the school to a headteacher group. This is done by calculating the total unit score for the school. The headteacher group corresponds to a broad pay range.
According to paragraph 6.2, the unit score is calculated as follows:
Key Stage (KS)
|Units per pupil|
|For each pupil in the preliminary stage and each pupil in KS1 or KS2||7|
|For each pupil in KS3||9|
|For each pupil in KS4||11|
|For each pupil in KS5||13|
- Each pupil with a statement of special educational needs (SEN), or from September 2014, an education, health and care (EHC) plan must, if in a special class consisting wholly or mainly of such pupils, be counted as 3 units more than he or she would be counted as otherwise. If not in a special class, he or she will only be counted as 3 units more where the relevant body decides to do so
- Each pupil who attends for no more than half a day on each day for which the pupil attends the school must be counted as half as many units as he or she would otherwise be counted
A different calculation for special schools is set out in paragraph 7 (pages 13-15). Another of our articles looks at how to determine the headteacher group in special schools.
The correspondence between total unit score and headteacher group is set out on page 11 of the STPCD as follows:
|Total unit score||Headteacher group|
|Up to 1,000||1|
|1,001 to 2,200||2|
|2,201 to 3,500||3|
|3,501 to 5,000||4|
|5,001 to 7,500||5|
|7,501 to 11,000||6|
|11,001 to 17,000||7|
|17,001 and over||8|
The pay ranges for the different regions of England and Wales which correspond to each headteacher group are also set out on page 11.
Headteacher group for headteachers with permanent responsibility for more than one school
Paragraphs 6.6 and 7.9 of the STPCD say that where the headteacher is appointed as a headteacher of more than one school on a permanent basis, the relevant body of the headteacher’s original school must determine the headteacher group by calculating the total unit score of all the schools for which the headteacher is responsible.
Pay ranges for deputy and assistant headteachers
Paragraph 9.4 of the STPCD says that pay ranges for deputy and assistant headteachers should only overlap with the headteacher’s pay range in “exceptional” circumstances.
... governing bodies should consider how the role fits within the wider leadership structure of the school
The maximum of a deputy or assistant headteacher pay range must not exceed the maximum of the headteacher group for the school.
On page 32, the DfE's guidance (linked to above) advises that for leadership group posts other than the headteacher, governing bodies should "consider how the role fits within the wider leadership structure of the school".
Stage 2: setting the indicative pay range
Page 32 of the DfE’s guidance explains that at this stage, the governing body should:
... consider the complexity and challenge of the role in the particular context of the school and make a judgement on pay in light of this.
Factors such as recruitment and retention, permanent additional responsibilities and long-term provision to other schools should be taken into account at this stage.
For other leadership roles, page 33 says that governing bodies will wish to consider how the pay of other leadership roles will be set in accordance with the level set for the headteacher.
The STPCD says in paragraph 9.2 that the relevant body must also ensure that the pay range leaves sufficient scope for performance-related progression over time.
Flexibility to go 25% beyond the headteacher group
The relevant body must … ensure that the pay range leaves sufficient scope for performance-related progression over time
Paragraph 9.3 of the STPCD says that pay ranges for headteachers should not normally exceed the maximum of the headteacher group.
However, when setting pay after 1 September 2014, if the relevant body determines that circumstances “specific to the role or candidate” warrant a higher than normal payment, it can choose to increase the pay range by a maximum of 25% above the headteacher group.
On pages 32-33, the DfE’s guidance suggests additional factors that governors might take into account, such as:
- The context and challenge arising from pupil needs
- A high degree of complexity and challenge
- Additional accountability not reflected at stage one
- Factors that may impede the school’s ability to attract a field of appropriately qualified and experienced candidates
If the relevant body wishes to go more than 25% beyond the headteacher group, external independent advice must be sought, and a business case made and agreed by the governing body.
Stage 3: deciding the starting salary and individual pay range
The third stage is the determination of the starting salary for the individual who is to be offered the post.
Page 34 of the DfE’s guidance advises that governing bodies will want to set the starting salary in the light of candidate-specific factors, such as the extent to which the candidate meets the requirements for the post.
The guidance notes again that it will be important to ensure that there is scope for performance-related progression.
Annex A, on pages 45-46 of the DfE guidance document, includes examples of how the three-stage process for setting pay may be used.
The first worked example uses the case of a school with 200 pupils on roll that was judged as ‘good’ in its last inspection. The three-stage process is as follows:
- At stage 1, the school is assigned to headteacher group 2, with a broad pay range of £46,799-£63,779
- At stage 2, the governing body considers that there are no additional factors that need to be taken into account and decides to set the indicative pay range at £46,800-£54,600
- At stage 3, having selected a candidate who meets all the requirements of the job specification, the governing body decides to set the salary on appointment at £47,500
The second example uses the case of a school with 200 pupils on roll. It is a challenging school with a higher than average proportion of pupils on free school meals that until recently was rated by Ofsted as requiring significant improvement. The three-stage process is as follows:
- At stage 1, the school is assigned to headteacher group 2
- At stage 2, the governing body decides that, because of the challenges the school is facing, it needs to recruit an experienced school leader, and sets the indicative pay range towards the top of the broad pay range, at £55,000-£63,100
- At stage 3, having selected a candidate who meets the job specification, the governing body decides to set the salary on appointment at £56,200
Leadership pay spine points have been removed
The mandatory leadership pay spine points found in the STPCD 2013 have been removed
The DfE’s guidance explains on page 47 that the mandatory leadership pay spine points found in the STPCD 2013 have been removed. It says schools should have revised their pay and appraisal policies as a consequence of this, to clarify their approach to making performance-based pay decisions for the leadership group.
A representative at the DfE confirmed that this change applies to all members of the SLT, and not just those who have had their pay set on or after 1 September 2014.
Permanent discretionary payments have been removed
The STPCD does not have provisions for the award of permanent discretionary payments.
The STPCD does not have provisions for the award of permanent discretionary payments
Page 42 of the DfE’s guidance explains:
The expectation is that the new approach to setting pay for headteachers will make additional payments by means of allowances largely unnecessary.
The exception to this will be for temporary or irregular responsibilities or other very specific reasons which it is not appropriate to incorporate into permanent pay, such as housing or relocation costs.
Paragraph 10.1 of the STPCD says that additional payments are to be for “clearly temporary” responsibilities.
Paragraph 10.2 stipulates that the total sum of temporary payments in any school year must not exceed 25% of the headteacher’s annual salary.
Another of our articles looks at answers to frequently asked questions on additional payments for headteachers.
Increases in pupil and staff numbers
A school leader asked us whether a school that is taking over a nursery, and will therefore have more pupils and staff members, will have to reflect this in increased pay for the leadership team.
We asked the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL). A representative said that for academies, this depends on what is in the pay policy. If the pay policy links pay to pupil numbers then the salaries might have to be increased, but this should be discussed with the governing body.
For schools that follow the STPCD, the representative said that an increase in pupil and staff numbers would not necessarily lead to a blanket increase in pay for all members of the SLT. Instead, each role should be looked at in order to judge whether it has been impacted by the changes, and to what extent.
She said that for headteacher pay, an increase in pupil numbers could change the headteacher group. In addition, when setting the pay range, there could be an argument that the increased number of pupils and staff members has increased the level of 'complexity and challenge' involved in the role, especially if a new phase has been added to the school.
If the headteacher's pay changes, the school may wish to review the pay of the other members of the leadership team in order to ensure consistency.
Deputy and assistant headteachers
For deputy headteachers and assistant headteachers, an assessment should be made about whether the changes have resulted in a significant change to the responsibilities of each post.
The Key has another article which looks at setting and reviewing the pay range for deputy and assistant headteachers in more detail.
School business managers
The representative explained that the responsibilities of the school business manager role should be looked at to see whether they have been affected by the expansion of the school.
School business managers (SBMs) are not paid under the STPCD and there are no national pay ranges for SBMs. Another article from The Key looks at SBM salaries in more detail.
This article was updated in response to a question from the headteacher of a medium-size urban primary school in the south west.
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