Leadership and headteacher pay scales

Your salary as a senior lead teacher or headteacher depends on where you work and your place on the leadership pay scale. Find out what you could, or should, be earning in the 2019-20 school year

Grainne Hallahan

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As a teacher with leadership responsibility at a state school, your salary will be based on the national pay scale. 

For the 2019-20 school year, this will be between £41,064 for leaders on spine point one of the scale outside of London up to £121,749 for headteachers in inner London. 


The leadership scale

As a senior leadership teacher, you’ll start on the leadership pay scale, which ranges from point L1 to L43. Where you start on the scale will depend on the size of your school, your prior experience and your role.

Once you are paid on the leadership scale, you no longer qualify for the 1,265-hour agreement, and you can be directed to work during lunch and break times. However, headteachers and senior leaders are entitled to dedicated headship or senior leader time, which is a reasonable amount of time in order to carry out the responsibilities connected to their role.

View the 2019-20 leadership pay scale (PDF)

The headteacher scale 

The headteacher pay scale uses the leadership scale but begins at L6, and groups the spine points together into eight different groups. Group 1 is L6-18, Group 2 L8-21, Group 3 L11-24, Group 4 L14-27, Group 5 L18-31, Group 6 L21-35, Group 7 L24-39, and Group 8 L28-43.

The groups are organised in this way, with overlapping spine points, in order to pay headteachers a salary that reflects the size of the school. The relevant body must assign its school to the correct group size and then, within the group size, you have the range of salary options for the headteacher. 

More details on the calculation to work out the group size can be found in section 2 (paragraphs 5-11)  of the School Teachers Pay and Conditions document. In order to calculate it, you will need the school roll number from January of the current academic year, or previous year if you are calculating it in the autumn term.

View the 2019-20 headteacher pay scale (PDF)

Lead practioner payscale

The lead practioner pay scale uses the leadership scale.

If you have paid as a lead practioner, you will be expected to take on leadership duties. Lead practioner roles are not always available in every school.

View the 2019-20 lead practioner pay scale (PDF)

Getting a pay rise

The governing body will set the headteacher’s initial salary, and usually a pay committee will deal with progression up the range following the headteacher’s yearly appraisals. All teachers are awarded a pay rise when the pay scales and allowances are updated. 

*Salaries vary owing to location. Figures shown are for 2019-20, and are revised annually.

Please note: The teachers’ pay scales listed apply to teachers employed by a local authority or by the governing body of a foundation, voluntary aided or foundation special school. Academies and free schools are not legally required to implement the pay scales, so it is best to request to see their own pay policy.​

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