Ask the Experts

What are the arrangements for pay progression in schools and academies?

From September 2014, any salary progression is determined by the outcome of your performance appraisal. There is no longer any right to automatic pay progression for teachers.

Academies do not have to use the nationally agreed salary scales.

If you return to work in a maintained school there is no requirement for the school to honour either your pay in the academy or in any previous maintained school. You and the school will need to negotiate your starting salary.

Teachers who have been paid on the upper pay scale and who return to the maintained sector can be placed on the upper pay scale at their new school but this is at the school’s discretion.

There are no national support staff pay scales, so support staff need to check salary entitlement with a new employer.

What pension arrangements are available to schools?

Academies are required to offer the Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS) to all teachers and the Local Government Pension Scheme to support staff.

For teachers, any period out of service could have an effect on your pension benefits. Wherever there is a break in service, teachers’ pensions will, on retirement, undertake a ‘hypothetical calculation’ of pension benefits.

A record of your pensionable service (previously known as reckonable service) in the TPS is compiled throughout your teaching career by teachers’ pensions from annual returns submitted by your employer. It is therefore important that you keep all your pay slips in case there is any dispute as to your pensionable service when you eventually retire.

Errors made when recording service are the exception rather than the rule though, and mistakes can normally be rectified if you can produce your pay slips as evidence. You should, as a matter of course, check your annual benefit statements from teachers’ pensions; this is particularly important if you work on a part-time basis.

Pension benefits are based on your total pensionable service in years and days.

What is a teacher's maternity or paternity entitlement?

All pregnant employees are entitled to 52 weeks’ statutory maternity leave (comprising 26 weeks of ordinary maternity leave and 26 weeks of additional maternity leave) regardless of length of service, hours worked or size of employer. Employees must notify their employer of the intention to take maternity leave no later than 15 weeks before the Expected Week of Childbirth (EWC).

If you are TUPE transferred to an academy, staff of the closing school/s who have a substantive contract at the point of closure will have the right to transfer to the academy on their existing terms and conditions and will still be eligible for the national occupational maternity scheme.

If you are not TUPE transferred to an academy then you will need to check with the academy what, if any, exceeding statutory occupational maternity, paternity or adoption benefits are available and how you qualify for them.

If you return to a local authority school from an academy, to qualify for the occupational scheme teachers must have one year’s continuous service with one or more local authority schools at the beginning of the eleventh week before the EWC.

What sick pay arrangements are available within schools?

For those teachers employed in local authority schools, the position on sick leave is detailed in the Conditions of Service for School Teachers in England and Wales - the Burgundy Book. This gives a teacher sick leave based on the total of their accrued service with one or more local authorities.

Entitlement is currently as follows:

  • In the first year – 25 days full basic pay and, after completing four calendar months’ service, 50 days half basic pay;
  • In the second year – 50 days full basic pay followed by 50 days half basic pay;
  • In the third year – 75 days full basic pay followed by 75 days half basic pay;
  • In the fourth and successive years – 100 days full basic pay followed by 100 days half basic pay;
  • After completing 15 years continuous service – 115 days full basic pay followed by 115 days half basic pay;
  • After completing 20 years continuous service – 138 days full basic pay followed by 138 days half basic pay.

Therefore if you have taught for four years in the maintained sector, you are entitled to 100 working days of sick leave on full pay and a further 100 working days of sick leave on half pay.

If you leave teaching, or move to a school not covered by the Burgundy Book, and then return to the maintained sector, then you can pick up your previously accrued rights to sick leave from day one of returning to the maintained sector.

For support staff employed in local authority schools, the position on sick leave is detailed in the National Agreement on Pay and Conditions of Service - the Green Book - part 2, section 10. Full sick pay of six months’ full pay, six months’ half pay is payable after five years’ service.

If you are TUPE transferred to an academy, you will have the same entitlement to sick leave as you would have had, had you remained in a maintained school.

If you are not TUPE transferred to an academy then you should check what, if any, occupational sick leave you can receive as there is no statutory obligation to offer additional entitlement above statutory requirements.

What happens if you are being made redundant and recieve another job offer?

If an employee who is under notice of redundancy receives an offer of a job from another modification order body before the termination of their employment and takes it up within four weeks of the end of the old employment, there will be no dismissal for redundancy payment purposes.

If an employee does take on a new job with a modification order body in these circumstances, the provisions relating to a trial period in the ERA (Education Rights Act) will apply. Therefore, if the employee decides not to continue with the job during the first four weeks they will be able to terminate the contract and receive a redundancy payment from the old employer.