Once you become a more experienced teacher, you might decide it is time to take on a few more responsibilities, and you will be entitled to a boost in your income.
So, if you become a head of department or head of year, you’ll be paid a TLR or teaching and learning responsibility payment to top up your regular salary.
TLR is linked to a position, and not the individual in the position - it's not about what you bring to a position, but what a position requires from you.
It’s a bit like a performance-related payment that recognises the additional work you’re taking on.
The Department of Education publishes the School Teachers' Pay and Conditions Document (STPCD) every year, and it forms a part of your contract as a teacher in England or Wales.
In this document, you will find information about TLR payments that teachers receive when they take on more responsibilities. However, this post will go over the main areas so you have a good idea of what you will be entitled to.
The STPCD for 2021 was recently updated to address the disruptions in schools due to the coronavirus pandemic. And also to reflect the change in the number of days and hours that teachers must be available to work when the extra Bank Holiday in June 2022 was added to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
Plus, there were also amendments due to the changes to the statutory provisions for early career teacher (ECT) induction which came into force in September 2021.
What are ‘Teaching & Learning Responsibility’ (TLR) payments?
You will receive a TLR payment if you are asked by your school to take on extra leadership and management responsibilities.
The governing body for your area will decide exactly the number of TLR payments for your school and the levels and values of these payments.
Therefore, there isn’t a countrywide set value for these payments. The governing body for your area will decide the exact figures. However, there are guidelines for them to follow.
What are the ranges of TLR payments?
For the period between 2021 and 2022, the TLR1 band is set at £8,291 to £14,030 in England. And the TLR2 band is set at £2,873 to £7,017.
In addition, for the new TLR3 band, the payment must be no less than £571 and no greater than £2,833.
What are the different TLR bands?
The STPCD provides three bands for the TLR payments, TLR1, TLR2 and TLR3. There can be more than one level of TLR payment within each TLR band.
Your school will decide for itself the number of levels of TLR payments within the two bands and the specific values of the TLR payments at each level.
How can you qualify for TLR payments?
To qualify for a TLR payment, your duties must include:
To get a TLR2 payment, you will have to show you have a specific responsibility, which focuses on teaching and learning and needs professional skills and judgment.
This responsibility must exceed your usual classroom responsibilities.
In most cases, teachers are usually promoted to a position that has a TLR attached to it.
And the TLR payment should be clearly stated in the job description when the teaching position is advertised.
How do TLR1 and TLR2 payments differ?
The main difference between TLR1 and TLR2 payments is the level of management responsibilities required.
To qualify for a larger TLR1 payment, you must meet all the criteria for TLR2, and be a line manager for a significant number of people.
It is worth pointing out that you can’t receive both a TLR1 and TLR2 payment, but it is possible for you to receive a TLR1 or TLR2 and a TLR3.
Are you being asked to take on too much work without compensation?
You should be aware that you cannot be accountable for a subject if you don’t have a TLR1 or TLR2.
Of course, all teachers will be asked to support their program and chip in with extra duties from time to time.
For example, you might be asked to share your experience and subject knowledge to help improve your school’s curriculum. That’s just part and parcel of being a teacher.
However, your school cannot ask you to be responsible or accountable for a subject without a TLR1 or TLR2.
You can check the School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document (STPCD) for more specific information.
How much extra work should you accept before receiving a TLR?
There is, of course, a fine line between being a valuable team member and being taken for a ride.
Unfortunately, there are some schools that will push their teachers to the brink and not offer a TLR payment.
This is why it is crucial to know where you stand.
You can coordinate on a subject without receiving a TLR payment to gain experience and also show that you are willing and able to take on more responsibilities.
However, you cannot be made accountable for results in the subject across your school until you are receiving a TLR payment.
But you can offer your experience in terms of suggesting resources for your school to use, researching and sharing effective study materials you’ve found useful and sharing good teaching principles you’ve developed with other teachers in your department.
Admittedly, it might be tough making it clear where your willingness to help the team ends, and where your TLR payments should begin.
The NASUWT teaching union knows that some schools might claim that when a teacher moves to an upper pay range, they should be required to take on extra duties. However, this is not correct.
If you need specific criteria for movement to the upper pay range, you can check the STPCD for clear details.
Will your TLR payments be permanent?
A question that often comes up is whether your TLR payments will be permanent or not. Well, TLR1 and TLR2 payments will be permanent while you stay in the same post.
And of course, they will end if you move to a different school.
Or you decide that you can no longer carry out these extra responsibilities and duties that made up your TLR payment in the first place.
In addition, TLR3 payments are for a fixed, time-limited period only.
It should also be noted that you cannot hold more than one TLR1 or TLR2 payment.
However, a single TLR payment can be based on a job description that itemises several different areas of significant responsibility.
Plus, you can now hold one or more TLR3 payments in addition to a TLR1 or TLR2 payment.
Final thoughts on TLR payments
As mentioned in this article, there can sometimes be a grey area between being part of the team and helping the school grow as part of your regular teaching responsibilities, and then being paid extra.
Some schools might try to move the goalposts from time to time, and in these cases, it is vital you know where you stand.
And hopefully, this article has made the whole area of TLR payments much clearer to you.