Teacher Main Scale to Upper Pay Scale: things you might want to consider.

As part of normal career progression in education, you will at some point reach the top of main pay scale and consider crossing the threshold to UPS.

Strangely, this significant leap does not have the same careful consideration or induction process that it probably should; so, most of us take that leap a little bit blindly and with our fingers crossed.

To help with that decision, here are a few things you might like to know BEFORE you leap.

UPS has different expectations: you must be highly competent in all teacher standards, as well as have “substantial and sustained” achievements and contributions to the school to be considered for post-threshold.

You can be considered at any point (you don’t have to wait to be on M6) but you absolutely need to demonstrate the above.

“Substantial and sustained” is the element to really consider here. Substantial is usually considered to be impacting on the wider school beyond normal class teacher responsibilities. This could be driving an initiative or developing others beyond what other main scale teachers are contributing. Therefore, if you are a subject leader in a primary school but your role is not substantially different from other subject leaders, you will need to consider how you are going to demonstrate these elements of post-threshold.

The great news for achieving UPS is that you receive the higher pay bands. As a general expectation, a UPS teacher would likely move up to the next point every 2 years, but it is not set in stone and not automatic either. A top UPS salary is in the region of £43685 in England (excluding London and fringe).

The less great news is that by accepting going on UPS, you will have signed up to the new expectations and therefore will need to maintain high competency in all teacher standards, as well as uphold “substantial and sustained” impact in the school. If this is not maintained, there is greater risk of performance management processes starting because you are paid to deliver at that higher level consistently.

And here is the other thing, you cannot just hand it back and return to main scale – although you can change school and take a main scale role again.

Perhaps the main thing to consider is that for the additional expectations, the difference between MP6 and UP1 is £1815 a year – that’s £151.25 a month before deductions.

To keep it in perspective, that’s about 5 hours tutoring a month.

Make sure you really do want to be a post-threshold teacher before you take the leap, because the moment you do, the expectations are higher than perhaps you bargained for.

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