There is no need for big pay hikes for teachers, says TaxPayers’ Alliance

The TaxPayers’ Alliance today releases analysis of teachers’ pay increases that counter unions’ calls for salary increases.

The analysis shows:

  • Teachers’ average salaries are £38,400 a year, considerably higher than the UK average of £28,600.
  • Leading teachers can earn more than £67,300 a year.
  • Education has seen a huge increase in funding, with spending per pupil in second schools rising over 80 per cent between 1997 and 2015.
  • Teachers’ gross pay increased by 1.6% in 2016-17
  • When the progression effect is taken into account, teachers’ gross pay increased by 4.6% in 2016-17 in England.


There is also a great deal of unnecessary spending by schools in England.  For example:

  • Schools in England spent an average of £298,599 on teaching assistants last year.
  • This is more than four times the amount spent on learning resources for children and almost 15 times the amount spent on ICT learning resources.
  • There is no evidence that they increase educational outcomes of the vast majority of children, other than for children with learning difficulties.

Commenting on the analysis, John O’Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said:

“Whilst we are constantly hearing trade unions calling for more spending; this has largely gone on salary increases. This is completely unfair at a time when public sector workers are already better off on average than those in the private sector.

“Teachers in particular have seen generous increases in pay when moving up through pay bands, and this comes off the back of those taxpayers in the private sector. Schools should deliver value in their budgets before teachers see higher pay increases, rather than demanding that the government increase spending.”



The National Union of Teachers has called for a five per cent pay increase for school staff. So adamant are the unions, that they have threatened industrial action if their demands are not met.

There have even been reports of head teachers asking for donations from parents in order to buy equipment.


What should be done?

In 2017 the Department for Education concluded that more than a quarter of England’s state schools were spending more than they needed to across a range of areas and suggested:

  • Schools collectively cutting their budgets for teacher pay by more than £500 million
  • A £400 million cut from the education support staff bill
  • A further £750 million saving from supply staff, premises staff, back office staff, catering staff, staff training, and staff-related insurance
  • £1.3 billion in non-staff savings such as premises, back office, energy, and consultancy costs

It may be politically difficult to cut pay, but our analysis shows that teachers’ salaries do not need to be increased further. Further, the evidence for cutting funding for teaching assistants is strong.


TPA spokesmen are available for live and pre-recorded broadcast interviews via 07795 084 113 (no texts)

Media contact
James Price
Campaign Manager, TaxPayers' Alliance
[email protected]
24-hour media hotline: 07795 084 113 (no texts)

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