Schools Pay Teachers NOT Teachers Pay Teachers

Reading time: 7


Ross Morrison McGill founded @TeacherToolkit in 2010, and today, he is one of the 'most followed educators'on social media in the world. In 2015, he was nominated as one of the '500 Most Influential People in Britain' by The Sunday Times as a result of...
Read more about @TeacherToolkit

As the debate for Teachers Pay Teachers gathers pace here in the UK, I’d like to add my own little twist on the debate and offer some clarity.

This blog is not advocating teachers buying resources from teachers, but schools using school budgets to pay for PPD resources created by teachers and not companies.

This blog is about teachers sharing, selling and hosting their own resources.

This will not be to everyone’s taste because the subject matter is an unknown quantity to us all; this debate will also be prominent for all teachers this academic year because one of the largest resource websites in the UK is moving towards a (PPD) Pay-Per-Download system (next month). There are also other start-ups sprouting up all over the place during the past 6-12 months to keep ahead of this untapped market.

I am not writing to advocate for teachers to cease to share resources freely with each other, or those who create and share classroom resources freely. Teachers by nature and reason, create and share ideas. This sums up every teacher I know! Therefore, the issue of teachers selling resources will divide and irk many, but let me tell you this, this debate will not be going away very soon. Here, I share what I know …

Choices, choices, choices…

Let me be crystal clear from the outset. If you are creating resources at home in your own time and not your school’s, then these resources belong to you. Anything earned or spent by you, is also your money. If you create resources for your job role (and particularly during school time, these resources belong to the school.

Teacher Resources Copyright
Click to read more

Read Copyright dos and donts for teachers in school. Vital reading!

Teachers will have to make a clear choice between purchasing resources for themselves out of their own pocket or using school funds to buy teacher PPDs, sourcing thousands of freely shared resources readily available on the web.

We all have a choice to make: to share or not to share. To pay or not to pay. And what source of funding to use.

My TES resources have been viewed more than 1 million times on the TES website and on this blog.

What I am proposing here, given the uncommon debate about teachers earning an additional income from their resources, is that money used to buy resources is purchased via school finances. This will not be an easy feat in some schools where finance systems lack effective reimbursement. There is also a huge debate to be had about choosing quality resources, ownership and use of public funds. This is for another blog. Perhaps teachers could be allocated a CPD fund to buy their own school resources, such as reading books and classroom resources? This is not an impossible ask and I already know of several schools that give funding to their teachers for professional development. Maybe yours does too?

We will also never escape the fact, that a school may not grant a teacher or department consent to buy a resource. The quandary that remains, will regard buying resources for ourselves as a result of our own interests and needs, and use in school, with compensation.

Facebook Like icon

Towards the end of July, The TES announced that it will be revamping its Terms and Conditions to allow teachers to have the choice to sell their own resources.

I blogged a year-long historical overview, informing readers this was Better Late Than Never. In a nutshell, although I may appear to be one of the most attached teachers to the recent phenomenon of Teachers Pay Teachers here in the UK, there are several other practising teachers already doing the same.

To like or not to like? Credit: BirgerKing

I would like to advocate that Schools Pay Teachers, and not Teachers Pay Teachers.

What I mean by this, is that school budgets pay for the resources created by teachers (in their own time and not during working hours) with no expectation that teachers pay teachers out of their own pocket.

It’s a very complicated pitch to explain that I will need to revisit, so this blog will be imperfect in many respects.

Who’s who?

Below I share with you the Who’s Who? platforms that I am aware of that enable teachers to ‘upload/download’ resources but also have the option to share freely, as well as ‘sell/buy’ at the same time. This is not a blog post for companies that sell resources exclusively. With this in mind, the companies I have sourced to date, are presented below:

  1. Teachers Pay Teachers in the USA.
  2. One-year-old Resourceasaurus.
  3. Newly formed The Last Resource.
  4. Well-established TES resources, now breaking into new territory.
  5. Help Me Teach.
  6. New kid on the block and still in nappies, The Last Resource.
  7. And finally my own choice, Sellfy.


This blog is not advocating teachers buying resources from teachers, but schools using school budgets to pay for PPD resources created by teachers and not companies. However, we cannot stop an individual from wanting to purchase something for themselves to use in the classroom. After all, we all do it when we purchase books that interest us for our own professional development, or stationery and classroom gadgets. We may be lucky enough to have the occasional personal purchase reimbursed; it must be known, [this product] then becomes the property of the school.

Intellectual property

There is very little awareness among teachers about intellectual property rights and ownership over teacher resources. Schools do very little to address this with their own staff. It may never be an issue other than common-sense or left to small print within school-teacher contracts. Whatever the case for you, check your employment contract for clarification over this. Some teachers may have clauses in their contract, whereby the school retains the right to resources created during school time. If you are unclear about what this means for your resources on the website, the best thing to do is to bring it to the attention of your line manager. I have researched this issue for over 18 months and the best source of information I can find which clarifies intellectual property for teachers is here.

Ownership of uploaded teaching materials?

You or your school, depending on your contract. You retain all intellectual property rights and the introduction of Creative Commons licences will serve to strengthen that. What any of the platform providers below cannot do (ever) – and I do mean any of them – is protect your Moral Rights, which you can do, by hosting your own (free or paid) resources on your own blog. If you are interested in selling your own resources and owning sole intellectual and moral property, you will need to bypass any of the providers I have listed below. I have not quite reached this realm yet.

Current platforms

Here is the most up to date list I have.

1. Teachers Pay Teachers (US)


  • Minimum fee. Basic sellers will need to price products carefully. Teachers earn 60% minus a $0.30 transaction fee for all items sold. 2% is taken from the uploader and a PayPal account is needed.
  • Functionality / Preview / Reviews: you can view some of the top-seller profiles here. Star ratings/reviews can be left by customers.
  • Terms and Conditions.
  • My newbie account is here.



2. Resourceasaurus:


  • Minimum fee: a) Join for free or b) pay an annual membership of £39.99 to become a Premium member. Sellers who join for free will pay a commission of 35% compared to 15% of sellers who are members.
  • Functionality / Preview / Reviews: You can view resource previews here before purchasing.
  • Terms and Conditions: Not found at the time

3. The Last Resource

the last resource

  • Minimum fee: Basic Members pay no annual membership fee. Associate Members must pay an annual membership fee of £45.00. Premium Members must pay an annual membership fee of £60.00. See 3.1 here. Basic Members will pay a Service Fee equal to 60% of the sale price of each item of Teaching Content sold plus £1.50 per Teaching Content uploaded.
  • Functionality / Preview: Reviews are also possible.
  • Terms and Conditions: Not found at the time

4. TES Resources

TES Resources
TES Resources

You can read more about The TLS / TES Resources’ plans to offer PPD resources here. The letter published in July 2014, ends with this pertinent sentence:

“In effect, the world’s teaching community has taken control of the content agenda within the classroom.”

and what I said to the TES one year ago, is featured in the main part of this letter. It reads:

“Teachers should have the right to be compensated for their content creation – certainly more than any textbook publisher – so we are going to try to make this happen.”

  • Minimum fee: Not available at present – to be updated.
  • Functionality / Preview / Reviews: There is a beta test platform available. However, the resources platform is still unavailable at present within the new site – to be updated.
  • Terms and Conditions.

The TES state: “This is primarily about compensating teachers.” I do hope that Ann Mroz and Lord Jim Knight understand, no matter how the shifting sands of teacher blogs have impacted the TES, that some of us continue to push for ‘a change’ from a sensible standing point, for the thousands of teachers who share resources freely with the TES to assist them with their huge financial turnaround!

5. Help Me Teach

Help Me Teach resources

The website is slow to upload various pages, but it appears to be reasonably well-setup and covers a huge range of school subjects. On closer analysis, resources do not appear to have many reviews, which suggests the website is a start-up. I’m happy to be corrected.

  • Minimum fee: Authors earn up to 80% commission.
  • Functionality / Preview / Reviews: You can look at an example resource here. You can also preview the resource, which isn’t very intuitive, but at least the option is there.
  • Terms and Conditions.

6. The Education Market

The Education Market

It’s less than a month old and tweeting here.

Their website still under development on MyShopify.

Here are the company’s thoughts.

I’m not even sure if this is their logo?!


7. Sellfy

Sellfy resources

  • Minimum fee: At present, the commission for the seller is 95% which is the best on the market as far as I can tell.
  • Functionality / Preview / Reviews: The features are all listed here. The upside is that the data is incredibly powerful, as is the purchasing information you receive and the feedback. The downside is that users cannot preview your resources, nor leave ratings which I think is essential for other potential users.
  • Terms and Conditions.
  • This has been my choice since March 2014 until I manage to move towards PPD on my own blog.


I’m sure there are many other start-ups looking to join the conglomeration as many teachers look on bewildered. It’s an unknown quantity to all of us. Be careful what you choose and do let me know if you find anything worth noting or correcting. It’s up to teachers to decide and will certainly divide the profession this academic year …

As for me, of course, I will continue to share all my resources for free, but when I’m stuck at home by my desk on a Friday and Saturday night, which I choose to do, working late into the night to create a batch of ideas and resources for myself (and potentially others), as the TES says; I “should have the right to be compensated for content creation.” I’m just making this happen already.

This may not be perfect, but is a possible overview of where the common ground may be. How do we move collectively towards Uncommon Participation?

Teachers Pay Teachers Resources CopyrightRelated:

7 thoughts on “Schools Pay Teachers NOT Teachers Pay Teachers

  1. Name: Paul
    Comment: Nice post. Just wanted to ask you to update the part about our terms. You mention the Basic Seller membership but not the Premium, which is what most sellers upgrade to when they see some success. For 59.95 annually, the seller keeps a full 85% of their sales. Thanks!

    TpT Founder
    Your Twitter ID:
    Are you a teacher?: Yes

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.