If you've ever had occasion to talk with a maths teacher, during a parent-teacher conference or during a spontaneous consultation on your child's progress, you might have sensed a feeling of malcontent underlying his/her assertions.

Frustration over heavy workload has pushed more educators to become a maths tutor recently. Teaching geared to ensure students pass mandatory exams instead of delving deeper into curriculum, aspects that would guarantee true learning, is another great source of ire.

Impossibly high standards to reach which, by the way, determine a master's earning potential.

Is teacher pay really scaled on a pupil reaching learning milestones?

How is pay determined for maths teachers in the UK?

Disparity in Teachers Pay Scale

Teacher LevelLondon Inner City
London OutskirtsLondon Fringe LocalesRest of England and Wales
Newly Qualified Teachers (NQTs)min: £21,641
max: £31,644
min: £20,441
max: £30,452
min: £18,339
max: £28,343
min: £17,208
max: £27,216
Median Salary Rangemin: £29,664
max: £40,372
min: £27,596
max: £38,963
min: £24,859
max: £36,157
min: £23,720
max: £35,008
Upper Salary Rangemin: £44,489
max: £48,244
min: £40,310
max: £43,348
min: £37,758
max: £40,520
min: £36,646
max: £39,406
Leading Practitionersmin: £47,751
max: £68,652
min: £43,348
max: £64,245
min: £41,268
max: £62,164
min: £40,162
max: £61,005
Head Teachersmin: £52,771
max: £118,490
min: £48,383
max: £114,147
min: £46,318
max: £112,105
min: £45,213
max: £111,007

As illustrated in the table above, there is substantial earning opportunity for teachers in our country.

Depending on which part of the UK you work in your starting annual salary as a newly certified teacher in a primary school will range from£23,720 to £40,372 and from £22,194 to £35,409 in a Secondary school depending on your educator experience.

By contrast, salaries for Head Teachers at primary and secondary schools across the country cap off at over £111,007 per year. In and around London, the ceiling is even higher.

The average salary data for an entry-level professor with less than five years of teaching experience in a higher education or Post-secondary institution throughout England indicates £66,843 per year. Lecturers with five to ten years of experience stands to earn up to £76,000.00 per annum, including bonuses and overtime.

If that Professor amasses twenty years of higher education lecturing experience, s/he would see yearly compensation upwards of £90,000 per year, including any bonuses for research or mentoring graduate students through their dissertation.

While it is true that higher education teachers can earn bonuses for research or taking on extra responsibilities such as GCSE maths revision or A-level classes, primary and secondary school math teachers can also profit financially by teaching students with special education needs, or by taking on diverse other responsibilities.

Check here for online teaching jobs now.

Other Earning Opportunities for Qualified Teachers

Incentive TypeMinimum Annual AllowanceMaximum Annual Allowance
Working with SEN students
(qualified teachers only)

In addition to qualified teachers' standard earnings, they may take on extra duties and/or responsibilities that will net them a bit more, added to their annual income.

According to the Department for Education, 14.6% of our country's students have been identified as having special needs in 2018.

Our general educational strategy for SEN involves extra teacher time focused on those students identified as Special Needs and continuing education for teachers, so that they may stat abreast of the latest policies and methods of teaching such students.

Qualified teachers who elect to work with SEN students may receive additional renumeration within the range indicated in the table above.

Another way teachers can add a bit more to their annual salary is through TLR payments ( teacher learning and responsibility payments).

The following are the exacting guidelines that dictate the criteria for earning either a TLR 1 or 2 payout.

  • TLRs may not be awarded for routine classroom activity or for work that is expected of all teachers.
  • They involve developing, enhancing and leading teaching methods and practices of every school teacher in that facility.
  • TLR-worthy programs must have a noticeable impact on the improvement of students' performance throughout the school - not just that teacher's pupils.
  • Eligibility for a TLR requires teachers to develop and manage a curriculum segment or subject
    • Pupil performance improvement across the curriculum can also be a criterion
  • Require the use of a teacher's professional skills in improving other teachers' performance.
  • Candidates must have a management responsibility over more than just a few people.

In addition to TLR 1 and 2 awards, there is further opportunity to earn a TLR 3 award. The criteria are much the same as the other programme but are awarded to qualified teachers for short-term or limited duration programmes.

Any teacher who has previously received a TLR 1 and/or 2 award may also receive a TLR 3 disbursement. However, no teacher may receive more than one TLR 1 or 2 payment at any one time.

As no distinction is made for pay purposes between math teachers and teachers of other subjects, they too may choose to work with SEN students and participate in the TLR programmes.

Furthermore, the disparity of pay for and between a Maths tutor hourly wage or online maths tutor whose students are preparing for their exam with an A level maths tutor, and a professor who chairs thesis defense seems counter-intuitive.

Historically, a teacher's career track, including promotions and continuing education, would lead to a University position – with it's honored title of Professor and the promise of tenure: the pinnacle of success for any teacher.

Renumeration for professors can include grants and bonuses
An experienced professor stands to earn handsomely. Source: Pixabay

Teacher Salary based on Seniority and Tenure

Full time Permanent Posts, or Positions – what is referred to as 'tenure' in other countries, meant that a university professor had life-long job security, even if s/he brought shame to the institution or to him/herself, or became incapacitated and could no longer function in his/her position.

In the film Educating Rita, a professor proudly announces his attainment of a Position, bragging that he could not be fired, no matter what.

He then engages in a series of misdeeds that should have seen him removed from his position; instead, he is sent on sabbatical to Australia. He did not get expelled from his position, even when he assaulted his superior.

These permanent posts were few and far between; highly coveted and stingily awarded.

Soon, such appointments will be a thing of the past. As the last of the Positioned Professors retire or withdraw from academic life, their posts will be filled by teachers on contract with no possibility of gaining tenure at their institution.

The Education Reform Act of 1988 changed the nature of post-secondary schools from mere institutes of higher learning into businesses. That in turn altered the relationship of Professors with their domains.

No longer would schools vie for especially talented teachers; nor would genius be particularly cultivated.

Everyone signs a contract: permanent, indefinite or school year to school year.

This move was meant to narrow the gap between academic institutions and polytechnic schools. Public school teachers at Polytechnic universities have always worked under contract, and such houses of learning have always been 'for profit'.

1992 saw a further narrowing of the gap between the two types of schools: all polytechnic colleges became Universities.

From then on, any illusion that academic professorship conveyed gravitas was irrevocably destroyed.

How Seniority in Primary and Secondary Education affects Teachers Pay

Primary and Secondary schools are also run as businesses and those teachers are also contract employees, even though these schools are overseen and regulated by the government.

However, as demonstrated in teacher salaries breakdown table at the start of this article, rank and seniority does bear on a teacher's earning power.

Here we take a closer look at compensation for specific levels of teaching.

Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) teachers are expected to teach a variety of subjects: Reading, Writing, Grammar, Sciences, and, of course, Mathematics.

  • Salaries for newly qualified teachers (NQTs) in England, Wales and Northern Ireland start on the minimum rate of the main pay range which is £23,720. The pay range rises on an incremental basis up to £35,008.

  • Teachers in Scotland start on salaries of £22,866 and with experience can work up to salaries of £36,480.

  • After gaining experience and expertise, teachers in England and Wales who reach the top of the main pay range can apply to be assessed to progress to the upper pay scale. This ranges from £36,646 to £39,406. Higher salaries can be achieved by reaching advanced skills and leadership group levels.

In Scotland, experienced teachers who wish to remain in the classroom rather than pursue management careers can take part in the chartered teacher programme, which involves further skills development.

Chartered teachers attracts a higher teacher salary

Taking on extra duties brings in more money
Primary school teachers instruct on a range of subjects. Source: Pixabay

Primary school teachers work with Key Stage 1 and 2 students (P2 through P7, in Scotland), ages ranging from five to eleven. At this stage, students are given instruction in discrete segments, sometimes with teachers that specialize in a particular subject.

  • New entrants to the profession in England, Wales and Northern Ireland start on the main salary scale, which rises incrementally from £23,720 to £39,406. Enhanced pay scales apply for teachers working in or near London.

  • In Scotland, the new entrants' starting salary is £22,866, plus any payments made through the Preference Waiver Scheme, rising incrementally to £36,480.

After gaining experience and expertise, particularly skilled classroom teachers in England and Wales can, where the opportunities exist, apply for a leading practitioner position.

Schools now have the freedom to create higher-salary posts for teachers whose primary purpose is modelling and leading improvement of teaching skills. Salaries in this bracket start at £38,984, potentially rising to over £100,000.

Starting in Secondary School, students are treated to a daily rotation of teachers, each of whom are firmly entrenched in their discipline. All instructors, including Maths teachers, stand to earn:

  • NQTs in England and Wales start on the main pay range, which rises incrementally from £23,720 to £35,008 (£29,664 to £40,372 for inner London).

  • Salaries on the main scale in Northern Ireland range from £22,243 to £32,509.

  • In Scotland, salaries range from £22,866 to £36,480. In addition, Schools in some parts of Scotland it may be possible to obtain a Distant Islands Allowance or Remote Schools Allowance.
    • NQTs will receive an additional payment of £8,000 under the Preference Waiver Scheme if they agree to work anywhere in Scotland for their induction year.

Academies and free schools set their own pay and working conditions. These may be very similar to local authority schools or they may vary considerably.

Teachers may move into key stage or year leaders, mentoring and management roles. Management roles in particular result in considerable salary increases.

Further Education Teachers is a blanket term used to describe anyone who teaches beyond secondary school: at university or a sixth form college, for example.

  • As an unqualified further education (FE) teacher you could expect to earn £19,008 to £22,575. A qualified FE teacher can earn between £23,952 and £36,162.

  • Typical salaries for advanced jobs in teaching and training levels are in the region of £36,000 to £40,000. Within leadership and management roles, salaries can significantly exceed that amount.

It is important to note that these pay scales are for all teachers, at every stage of development and experience, not exclusively for Maths teachers or tutors.

Experience and performance determine a teacher's salary in the UK.
Teachers' salaries are based in part on performance. Source: Pixabay

Experience is (not Necessarily) what Matters Most with Teachers Pay Scale

While it is true that teachers with significant classroom experience can apply for promotion – and higher pay, since the Education Reform Act, teaching experience matters less than classroom performance, insofar as pay increases are concerned.

A teacher with three years' experience whose students perform exceptionally well on mandated exams could draw a salary from the higher end of the pay range than an equally experienced teacher whose students test out at just above the median.

A teacher who not only excels in the standards of teaching but volunteers for extra duty, or to work with special needs students will be awarded bonuses that other, less active teachers would not be entitled to.

This compensation model is called pay for performance and every employment sector from healthcare to education has adopted it, to one extent or the other.

Pay for Performance, Explained

Let's imagine a particular school district that, for whatever reason, consistently under-performs: the rate of school leavers is fantastically high, test scores are abysmally low and teacher turnover rates are appalling.

In spite of regular teacher evaluation and a salary schedule commensurate with other schools in the area, the school administrator has little recourse in improving the educational statistics his facility seems to constantly churn out.

Naturally, there is the matter of accountability: are all of the good teachers leaving because the teachers who could benefit from more guidance and development simply aren't getting it?

Are the students' education statistics due to the education system failing in their recruitment of qualified, experienced teachers?

Oh, well! Time to sort out the bonuses, now! Let's see... Sir John has been here the longest so he will get the largest cheque, followed by Mrs. ...

Therein lies most of that school district's problems.

Disbursing loyalty bonuses rather than merit bonuses tends to make employees loyal to the bonus rather than to their employment.

Just after the turn of the century, corporations and administrative bodies alike, including our country's Department of Education adopted a supplemental compensation scheme that places the onus on teachers' self-improvement that would lead to better classroom performance rather than to automatic and incremental increases in teachers salary.

Here we note that, although teachers do not receive a cost of living allowance, the average teacher salary does increase to reflect the cost of living, year to year.

This system of merit pay compels teachers to focus more directly on student achievement and incentivises them to take on extracurricular duties, such as working with SEN students, as mentioned above.

However, it makes no allowance for STEM education - instructional programs in science, technology, engineering and maths that is currently THE hot topic in education today.

A topic that, till now, haws received no more school funding than any other academic subject.

More students need to understand the importance of maths and science!
Too few students in our schools see the melding of maths, engineering and technology Source: Pixabay Credit: Geralt

The Significance of STEM

Every aspect of our daily lives is impacted and influenced by STEM. We won't belabour the obvious by citing online shopping statistics or the prevalence of social media - two aspects of modern society wholly dependent on technology. Instead, we point to the road you take to work, the conveyance you arrive in, be it your own car or the tube...

Did you listen to music or perhaps an audiobook on the way?

Without the study of science and engineering, none of those conveniences would exist for us to enjoy, and without maths, technology and engineering would, dare we say, not exist?

Just last weekend, at a forum held in Dubai, the Global Education and Skills forum discussed, among other topics, the need for more and better teachers, who could make the subject material come alive for their students.

What's the point of studying maths and science? - a common student complaint.

The point is that the the science, engineering and manufacturing sectors estimate a shortfall of 80,000 qualified workers in the next two years - a terrifying statistic!

What are we, in Great Britain, doing to head off those potentially disastrous circumstances? 

Outreach projects to attract more female students to STEM have not been wholly successful. Still, organisations such as STEM Learning work hard to promote interest and awareness of STEM in schools across the country.

They work directly with students but their main function is to support STEM teachers, through continuing education, by helping develop teaching strategies and by disseminating new information as soon as it becomes available.

So, with the spotlight currently on STEM subjects and those teachers doing everything they can to impart their subject matter in the most engaging ways possible...  

What about Maths Teacher Salary?

  1. Till now, the UK school system makes no distinction between a teacher of Maths and of any other subject, when it comes to pay.

  1. Teachers of all subjects are compensated according to their experience and performance, and all fall within the salary range for their level.

According to Elizabeth Truss, such unremarkable treatment of maths teachers and cavalier attitude toward maths in general, will certainly lead to Britain falling behind other countries national education systems. In China and South Korea for example, where pupils excel at not only maths but science, biology, literacy and more.

She faced great criticism for her position on boosting pay and incentives to attract quality maths instructors and recommending that qualifications for maths teachers be more stringent.

Until now, nothing has been done to especially recognize or compensate maths teachers beyond what teachers of other subjects earn.

We sure hope that will change. Discover Maths background and the link to tutoring over the centuries with our guide.

Seeking tutoring jobs and teaching jobs? Find out to become a maths tutor on Superprof. Whether you want to teach at home or start online tutoring jobs, we can help.

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As an Englishman in Paris, I enjoy growing my knowledge of other languages and cultures. I'm interested in History, Economics, and Sociology and believe in the importance of continuous learning.