Get Into Teaching for the Right Reasons!

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Get Into Teaching DfE


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...
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Why are you interested in (or why did you start) teaching? 

“What does a good teacher make these days?” is the question we keep hearing in the media, to allure potential adults into the teaching profession. Was your decision to enter into teaching for the money? I guess not!


A misleading advert was published yesterday by the Department for Education and has caused a furore. The particular snippet from the video is below. It says a ‘great teacher’ can earn up to £65,000! More than some primary headteachers across England and Wales!!

If you’ve not seen the video, here it is:

What is disappointing about this advert, is that it is misleading. I do understand, that teachers in the profession will be upset by these sentiments, but is the DfE also doing their job? We do need to be advertising the profession across the country and enticing new recruits into teaching. Is the £65,000 figure misleading and an insult to thousands of teachers already working 50-60 hour weeks for less than the average teacher salary?

Well, apparently, Tom Cox made this Freedom of Information request to Department for Education in March 2015.

His letter said;

Get Into Teaching DfE“Dear Department for Education,

I saw a TV advert which said that great teachers can be paid up to 65k. I want to know how great teacher is defined and what one would have to do to be paid this amount. Also, how many teachers are currently paid this amount?

Yours faithfully,

Tom Cox.”

(You can read the DfE reply at the bottom of this article)



For 20 years,  I have lived and worked in London. I have rented and I have managed to own a property for a few years but sold it recently after redundancy. There have been times when I’ve considered leaving London; when my father died in 2004; when I became a new father and when I was made redundant 2011. Surviving in teaching as a career to make money is something it is not. When events such as the ones that I have listed in my life, can make or break your career. Where we choose to live and work can be influenced by salary; sometimes events in our lives can make decisions for us that we do not wish to make.

Despite various hardships, I’ve stuck it out and continue to teach and live in London. I have benefited from an additional allowance of inner and outer London salaries, but in the long-term I still question how sustainable it is for me to stay in London with my young family. I have no idea how long we will continue.

When I first started teaching as a newly qualified teacher in 1997 my take-home salary was just over £17,000. Today this would equate to approximately £27,000. In 2000, I secured my first middle leadership position and started working on a £28,000 salary or thereabouts. It took me another 5 years to reach the average salary for (England and Wales) of £37,000.

The salary ranges shown in the table below are for 2015/2016, and are revised annually.

Get Into Teaching DfE

Source: DfE


What the government appeared to be missing in their recent campaigns, is not just attracting new teachers to the profession; with the reduction in pensions and an increased workload and accountability model in education, it is proving harder and harder to retain teachers within the profession. Teacher training continues to be an issue, as well as professional development within the profession. Workload is on the agenda in every single aspect, not just in the media, but in every school that I worked in. It needs to be fixed and soon …

Reply form DfE:

In response to Tom Cox’s Freedom of Information request in March 2015, here is the reply from the DfE in April 2015.

“We were not attempting to define “great” teachers in the advertisement, but were attempting to demonstrate the potential pay available to those who want to become great teachers. Currently the top end of a non-leader pay scale is that for ‘leading practitioners’. Leading practitioners are not members of the leadership group, but are teachers who are in posts whose primary purpose is modelling and leading improvement of teaching skills. The maximum pay for teachers in leading practitioner roles is £65,324.”

Apparently, there are just 0.5% of (great) teachers earning £65,000. It would be pretty obvious to suggest that all of them are working and living in London, earning more than many experienced heads of department, senior teachers and many primary headteachers living and working in inner and outer London. Something is clearly wrong …

Get Into Teaching DfE

Get Into Teaching:

Despite this, if you are serious about teaching for the right reasons, read Get Into Teaching and speak to teachers on social media who can help, inspire and provide you with a dose of reality. Teaching is a wonderful profession, but it is not easy. It is certainly not a job for those wanting to make money. nor should it be treated as a stop-gap career. Teaching is a lifetime’s craft and it can never be perfected. If this sounds like something for you, then you are destined for greatness (without the £65,000)!

As a teacher, you can inspire the next generation and help them realise their ambitions. That means you can go home each day knowing you’ve made a real difference, giving all young people the chance to fulfil their potential. (Source)

I’m not saying it is a solution, nor to possess all the answers, but my new book does address workload and recruitment and retention. If you are considering joining the profession and are reading this post, you may want to consider saving 30% and purchasing Teacher Toolkit: Helping you survive your first five years in teaching before the 31st October 2015. The link is here and a preview of the inside of the book is below.

You can also read more details in the sources below.

Get into teaching because you want to make a difference, not because you want to make a buck!


@TeacherToolkit logo new book Vitruvian man


  1. Complaint about ‘misleading’ £65k salary claim in teacher recruitment advert.
  2. Teacher Toolkit: Helping You Survive Your First Five Years.


10 thoughts on “Get Into Teaching for the Right Reasons!

  1. A good response to the inadequacies of the DfE recruitment, which makes teaching a kind of functional business rather than a vocational profession. I prefer promote the profession and inspire new recruits, rather than advertise and entice, which have too much of the free market about them! Education needs people who never give up on children and young people, rather than those who never give up on career progression.

  2. There was a similar ad in Australia trying to attract teachers as I had just finished my degree. So, chasing the travel dream (and the obscenely better salary I was promised, especially after conversion) I moved over. When I arrived, the supposedly 40 000 pound a year salary was a meagre 27 000 – less than 10 000 pounds a year different from what would have been my graduate wage in Australia ($65 000 p.a. AUD).
    I stayed for the travel, but I ultimately left because it just wasn’t worth it. I can now travel back to Europe for my holidays easily with the difference in salary. It’s a sad truth that the wages are some what embellished to attract people 🙁

  3. I did a PGCE, my partner did a PhD – he works in academia and his teaching load for the year is about what I do in 2 weeks. He earns 3 times what I do and doesn’t have to worry about behaviour.

  4. Whilst I agree with much of what you say, I think there is another side. I entered the profession later in life, having initially been put off by the perception that teachers are badly paid. 5 years in, whilst I’m not paid a kings ransom, as a HoD just going through threshold, I’m actually pretty pleased with the salary I have. Yes, the advert is misleading, but we should be careful not to tell people that it’s not possible to earn a good wage in teaching. That’s not true either.

  5. You’re right that we don’t go into it for the money. We make it work. I’ve always been grateful, as the sole wage earner, that I could survive, keep dry and feed my daughter. After 23 years, I’m still earning less than the AVERAGE, though. That gives me pause for thought. I’m top of the pay scale with nowhere to go except out of the classroom. This, I do not want to do. So, at the risk of repetition, it IS, as you say, also about retention. How do they stop highly experienced, qualified and dedicated classroom practitioners like myself, from wanting to leave as soon as possible?

  6. In contrast to the HE example, I work in FE. I have done so for more than 15 years. I ‘m an advanced practitioner and I work on the PGcert FE course (HE). I am always graded 1 or 2 in my annual observations. I don’t even earn £30000. I’d be happy with the average teacher salary quote in the ad.

  7. So if 0.5% of teachers are leading practitioners, that doesn’t clarify how many are at the top of the scale and actually earning the illusive 65k?

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