If you've just finished your Initial Teacher Training (‘ITT’) and are in the process of looking for your first teaching role you will be about to become an ECT.
As you will know, there have been significant changes since September 2021 in how the induction period for trainee teachers is set up, with the introduction of the Early Career Framework (‘ECF’) and a two-year induction period.
But what do these changes mean for your starting salary as an ECT?
And does the new induction period and Early Career Framework have any impact on your ECT salary?
Clearly you want to know what you can earn as your ECT salary and you may also want to take into account the cost of living in your chosen area of the country where you begin your teacher training. This is, of course, likely to be higher if you choose to take up your ECT role in London (we're biased but we would heartily recommend that you consider becoming an ECT in Lambeth).
Of course, London Weighting means that you will earn more if you choose to begin your teaching career in London, but it can't be denied that the cost of living will be higher.
Therefore you're going to want to know what your ECT wage will amount to once you have taken into account your cost of living.
ECT Salary Amount: How Much Will You Earn?
If you're asking that critical question, “How much will I earn as an ECT?”, then it would seem to be a relatively simple question to answer.
For the 2021 / 22 year your ECT salary for an inner London district, such as Lambeth, will be £32,157 per year, before tax.
This figure starts at £25,714 for those outside London and is between the two figures for those in Outer London (£29,915) or what’s known as the London Fringe (£26,948).
This current figure increased as a result of an average 5.5% pay rise for new teachers that was awarded by the Department for Education which said it had accepted all of the independent School Teachers’ Review Body’s (‘the STRB’) recommendations in mid 2020.
This pay rise was slightly lower for all other teachers at an average of 2.75%, meaning that new teachers were in receipt of the largest rise, even though overall this latest pay award amounts to the biggest teacher pay rise in 15 years.
Since then, all public service jobs have been subject to a pay freeze and therefore there will not be any pay rise until that pay freeze is removed.
Recent announcements have stated that the public sector pay freeze will be lifted by April 2022, but the details of this and what it will mean for teacher salaries have yet to be confirmed.
That lifting of the pay freeze should mean that for those completing their ITT in 2022 the actual starting salary for an ECT will have again risen from the figures quoted above by the time you start in September 2022.
However, it should be noted that since newly qualified teachers received the largest percentage rise in the 2020 pay award, it may well be the case that the end of the pay freeze will be by more likely to benefit teachers with a longer service, who might be expected to get a larger percentage increase in their salary in whatever the next round of pay awards might bring.
Nonetheless, the ending of the pay freeze is good news for all teachers and you should expect your starting salary to be a little higher than the figures quoted above.
Despite the pay freeze, statements from recent Education Secretaries have remained positive in promising to maintain competitive salaries for teachers with Gavin Williamson saying in 2019 that, “we want to make teaching attractive to the most talented graduates by recognising the prestige that we as a society place on the profession.”.
How Does the Teacher’s Pension Scheme Work for ECTs?
It's important to remember that all teachers are automatically enrolled in the Teacher’s Pension Scheme, which means your net pay will be less than the gross (pre-tax) figure quoted above.
It's hard to argue that a compulsory pension scheme can be anything other than good for your future financial security.
Having auto enrollment so that you are contributing to your pension from the day you begin your paid career as a teacher makes retirement planning something you don’t really need to think about.
Indeed, a good pension is something that many teachers consider to be a key benefit of the job - that and long holidays!
And, of course, the Teachers' Pension Scheme is of the highest quality and will ensure that once you reach retirement you will have a very considerable pension pot at retirement.
A typical member of the pension scheme who starts at the age of 23 and follows a typical career path can expect to accrue a pension pot worth in excess of £600,000, which will be equivalent to an annual pension of at least £30,000 per year.
It is worth noting that during your career as a teacher the deductions from your salary will be matched with significant pension contributions from your employer as well, paid on top of your salary.
Your employer will deduct pension contributions from your pay before deducting tax, thereby giving you tax relief on the amount you contribute to your pension.
Your employer will also pay these contributions towards your pension and both your and your employer payments will be made to the pension scheme every month.
That's the good news, but it does mean that you will be losing a significant percentage of your salary (before tax) right from the beginning of your teaching career.
For an ECT teacher in Inner London receiving a salary of £32,157 in the year 2022, the pension contribution deducted from your gross salary will be 8.6%. This equates to £2,765 per year or roughly £230 each month.
The current level of contributions are listed on the teacher’s pensions website and you can see that they vary based on the amount of your gross salary.
Clearly, contributing at that level to your pension with a matched contribution from your employer is an excellent retirement strategy for the long term, but you will need to bear in mind that when looking at your starting salary figure you will need to deduct the pension contribution to get to the actual amount you will receive in your pay packet (before tax).
What Will My ECT Salary be After Tax and Pension Contribution? - Your ECT Take Home Pay
So, it's all well and good knowing that you're saving for your retirement right from the moment you begin your career as a teacher, but what you really want to know is what will be your actual take-home pay as an ECT.
In other words, what will be your ECT salary after tax?
There are lots of online calculators that will help you work out what your net pay is going to be, but using the government calculator and assuming that you pay the the obligatory 8.6% of your gross salary to the pension scheme, your Inner London ECT Pay of £32,157 will actually turn out to be around £23,650 in your pocket or a little over £1970 per month.
That is after deducting your pension contribution, tax and National Insurance.
Please note that this is an approximate calculation because your particular case may vary and there are certain other personal circumstances which may make a difference.
To calculate your net take-home pay as an ECT who is working somewhere other than in Inner London simply take your gross pay figure, deduct the applicable pension contribution (almost certainly 8.6%) and then enter that as the gross salary figure in the government calculator. This will give you a pretty close estimate that you can look into further once you receive your first salary payment.
ECT Salary - What Else You Should Know
The information in this article gives you the latest up-to-date figures for your starting ECT salary, but there are a few things worth bearing in mind that we covered in our previous article about NQT salaries written before the introduction of the new ECT system.
In that article we looked at whether you could negotiate your salary as a new teacher (it's unlikely) and we also looked at whether there were any additional payments available to increase your salary.
The section in that article about Teaching and Learning Responsibilities (‘TLR’) details that there are additional payments available to teachers for leadership and management responsibilities which they may take on.
The issue for new teachers is that most of these additional payments are not likely to be available to you whilst you are in your induction period.
Of course, this means that in the past the TLR payments may have been available in your second year of teaching, but because the ECT system now treats you as an early career teacher for two years rather than just one, it seems likely that the TLR payments will not be available until you reach your third year of teaching.
That seems to be the only significant change in available salary for early career teachers that the shift to the new system has brought about.For more details on the TLR salary enhancing payments please refer to the NQT salary article here.