Support Staff: Pay


In schools, staff who do not have a teaching contract are referred to as Support Staff. The phrase ‘non-teaching staff’ has been phased out in preference to the use of the word Support. This term encompasses all staff supporting the teaching for example in the office, pastorally, as a Teaching Assistant, as an IT Technician etc. Here we discuss Support Staff: Pay.

The key difference between support staff pay and teaching staff pay is that teachers have Directed Time hours for their annual salary (plus the additional time to complete their role). Support staff will have contracted hours during which they work and this is the limit of the expectation. This may be explained as an hourly rate.

Contract types

Most support staff will have term time only contracts. As it suggests they can only be called upon in term time to attend work. These are permanent contracts but with restricted weeks of work. Built into the contract will be annual leave which varies but may be four or five weeks. This can increase according to years of service. It is a usual stipulation that holiday can only be taken on non school days.

Pay is annualised meaning the total pay for the full year is divided by 12 and then paid as a monthly salary.

Support staff contracts usually have unpaid breaks. So, the break times and lunchtimes may not be paid, the contract should make this clear. 

For Support Staff, any work completed outside of the contracted hours should fit into ‘additional hours worked and there should be a claims process for this.

Salary scales

Support staff are commonly on the National Joint Council Pay scale for support staff. Academies and Free schools often use this as a reference point for their pay scales, but this varies across regions.

The individual pay scale for a post will be determined by the employer. These will be based on ‘benchmarked’ information where jobs of similar levels of responsibility are compared. The job description will help the employer assign a Grade Band to the post. It is usual for the Grade banding to have a range so that progression over time can be achieved.

Sometimes a benchmark job description will be attached to an advert or job details indicating, not the specific tasks, but the types of tasks that may be required. This will illustrate for example the degree of line management responsibility or the level of autonomy the postholder will have.

All these factors will determine the starting point of the pay grade. 

Pay Progression

On appointment it is usual to start at the bottom of the pay band. However, if you can show relevant experience in a similar role, you may be able to negotiate a higher starting point. Pay progression will be based on an incremental progression scale based on performance and will require setting of objective, clear and relevant targets. Overall performance will be measured against this.

If a role evolves over time then the job description should be updated. Sometimes a regrading of the post can happen if material changes to levels of responsibility for example have occurred. Good practice is that at Performance Review each year the job description is analysed to ensure the work done fits with the description. When this is not the case, it may be possible to start a negotiation on pay level if you have been asked to take on more responsibility or a wider range of tasks.

One example of a role than can evolve in a school is the transition from a Teaching Assistant to a Higher level Teaching Assistant (HLTA). This needs a qualification to be completed and you can read more here.

Full time equivalent

Advertised roles often carry the Full Time Equivalent (FTE) comparison figure as part of the advert. This is to allow straightforward comparison of roles.

The actual salary will depend on the hours required.

If you are an Edapt subscriber and you have questions about your pay as a member of support staff, you can contact us for further advice and support.

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The information contained within this article is not a complete or final statement of the law.
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