Teacher pay progression: upper pay range


You may be wanting to progress onto the upper pay range (UPR) or eager to know how to progress within the UPR. The School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Documents (STPCD) outlines the criteria for teachers in maintained schools to access the upper pay range and information on pay progression.

You will also want to acquaint yourself with your school’s pay policy for details on pay progression within your school.

In this article, we outline how to apply for the UPR, how to progress on the UPR and how you can appeal any decisions on pay determination.

How do I progress onto the upper pay range?

Discussions about your progression onto the UPR can be held before your appraisal with your line manager.

The STPCD explains that qualified teachers can apply to the UPR. To qualify, teachers have to meet criteria set out in the school’s pay policy based on criteria from the Department for Education (DfE).

There are no barriers to movement onto the upper pay range that are connected with the length of service and no requirement to be at the top of the main pay range.

Qualified teachers may apply to be paid on the UPR at least once a year in line with their school’s pay policy.

For an application to be successful, the governance board must be satisfied that:

  • The teacher is highly competent in all elements of the relevant standards (The Teaching Standards)
  • The teacher’s achievement and contribution to an educational setting or settings are substantial and sustained

We have written another article which provides an overview of the Teaching Standards.

The DfE has published non-statutory advice to help schools and governance boards to make robust decisions on teachers’ and leadership pay. 

It explains that schools are free to set out in their pay policies their interpretation of the STPCD criteria for teachers to progress from the main pay range to the UPR. Neither the DfE nor Ofsted specify what these should be. 

The school’s pay policy should set out the process for assessing applications and make clear how the relevant body will interpret the following terms: “highly competent”, “substantial” and “sustained.”

Pages 52-53 includes a model policy on movement to the UPR and suggested definitions for the terms below:

Substantial: means of real importance, validity, or value to the school; play a critical role in the life of the school; provide a role model for teaching and learning, make a distinctive contribution to the raising of pupil standards; take advantage of appropriate opportunities for professional development and use the outcomes effectively to improve pupils’ learning

Highly competent: means performance which is not only good but also good enough to provide coaching and mentoring to other teachers, give advice to them and demonstrate to them effective teaching practice and how to make a wider contribution to the work of the school, in order to help them meet the relevant standards and develop their teaching practice

Sustained: means continuously over a long period e.g. X number of school year(s)

Your school will have its own process (outlined in its pay policy) on how to collate evidence, the format of the application, how quickly successful applicants will move to the UPR and other details.

How do I progress when on the UPR?

The STPCD explains that pay progression when on the UPR is linked to performance. You will not have to apply for progression once on the UPR.

Schools must consider annually whether to increase the salary of teachers who have completed a year of employment since the previous annual pay determination.

Pay progression decisions will be assessed through the school’s or authority’s appraisal arrangements in accordance with the Education (School Teachers’ Appraisal) (England) Regulations 2012 (the Appraisal Regulations).

We have published another article which outlines the performance-related pay process.

Can I appeal if I don’t agree with my pay decision?

Guidance from the DfE (page 28) explains that teachers have the right to raise formal appeals against pay determinations if, for example, they believe that the person or committee by whom the decision was made:

  • Incorrectly applied the school’s pay policy
  • Incorrectly applied any provision of the STPCD
  • Failed to have proper regard to statutory guidance
  • Failed to take proper account of relevant evidence
  • Took account of irrelevant or inaccurate evidence
  • Was biased
  • Unlawfully discriminated against the teacher

The guidance explains there is no statutory process for schools to follow in terms of hearing pay appeals. It notes that a key aspect of an appeals process is the opportunity for a teacher to discuss a pay recommendation prior to it being confirmed by the governance board. 

Essentially, there should be an informal discussion with the appraiser or headteacher prior to confirmation of pay recommendation. A teacher who is dissatisfied with a pay recommendation has the opportunity to discuss the recommendation with the appraiser or headteacher before the recommendation is actioned and confirmation of the pay decision is made by the school.

If having had an informal discussion and you believe an incorrect decision has been made you will be able to submit a formal written statement to the appraiser or governors’ committee making the determination. 

We would recommend contacting us for further advice and support before you take this step.

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The information contained within this article is not a complete or final statement of the law.
While Edapt has sought to ensure that the information is accurate and up-to-date, it is not responsible and will not be held liable for any inaccuracies and their consequences, including any loss arising from relying on this information. This article may contain information sourced from public sector bodies and licensed under the Open Government Licence. If you are an Edapt subscriber with an employment-related issue, please contact us and we will be able to refer you to one of our caseworkers.