Teachers’ Pay and Conditions of Service

Teachers pay and conditions of service in community schools are governed by the STPCD and Burgundy Book.

Academies and Independent Schools are free to set their own terms and conditions of service.

The School Teachers' Review Body (STRB) is an advisory, non-departmental public body that is sponsored by the Department for Education. It was established in 1991. 

Following a remit from the Education Secretary, the STRB makes recommendations on the pay, professional duties and working time of school teachers in England, reporting back to the Secretary of State and the Prime Minister.

Before making these recommendations, they are required to consult. ASCL is a statutory consultee.

The current legal foundation for the function and work of the STRB is Part Eight of the Education Act 2002. The secretariat for the STRB is provided by the Office of Manpower Economics (OME).

The School Teachers' Pay and Conditions Document (STPCD) is amended each year to reflect the accepted recommendations of the STRB.

The STPCD is a statutory guidance document on the pay and conditions for teachers in England and relates to local authority maintained schools and for those staff working in academies who are subject to TUPE protections and for whom the STPCD is still applicable.

The current version of the STPCD is available here.

Whether or not an executive head/principal should be paid under the STPCD will be dependent on the leadership model adopted, as well as whether they are a maintained school or in an academy trust that has adopted the STPCD. The leadership model will also determine whether or not they are eligible to join, or remain in, the Teachers' Pension Scheme. The STPCD leadership pay setting arrangements are rarely appropriate for the role of a chief executive officer.  The NGA has produced guidance Executive pay: considerations for trust boards

The Burgundy Book (updated June 2023) sets out the conditions of service for school teachers in England and Wales working in community schools, and for those staff working in academies who are subject to TUPE protections and for whom the Burgundy Book is still applicable.

Although academies have the freedom to set their own pay and conditions of service, the majority choose to adopt the provisions of the STPCD and Burgundy Book. A number of independent schools also use the STPCD as a benchmark for setting their pay framework.

The STPCD and Burgundy Book set out the main contractual conditions of service for teachers working in community schools, and for those staff working in academies who are subject to TUPE protections and for whom the national terms are still applicable.  Academies and Independent schools are free to set their own terms and conditions though many academies choose to adopt the national agreements.

Within national arrangements there is the scope for significant flexibility, therefore prior to signing any new contract of employment, ASCL encourages all members to have their contract checked. Full members are able to take advantage of our free contract checking service by contacting the Hotline 0116 2991122 hotline@ascl.org.uk

It is ASCL’s position that nationally agreed terms and conditions should be a minimum benchmark for all and encourage employers to improve on these wherever possible.

For Wales see here.


We are often asked what staff should be directed to do in ‘gained time’.

Gained time is when teachers who take examination classes/groups are released from some of their timetabled teaching commitments as a result of pupils being on study or examination leave.  This most often occurs during the summer term.  

Up until 2013, the STPCD included non-statutory advice on the appropriate activities for the deployment of staff with gained time.  Whilst this is no longer included in the Document it remains a useful guide.

  • Developing and revising departmental or subject curriculum materials, schemes of work, lesson plans and policies in preparation for the new academic year. This may include identifying appropriate materials for use by supply staff and/or cover supervisors.
  • Assisting colleagues in appropriate, planned team teaching activities.

  • Taking groups of pupils to provide additional learning support.

  • Supporting selected pupils with coursework.

  • Undertaking planned activities with pupils transferring between year groups or from primary schools.

  • Where the school has a policy for all staff to release them for continuing professional development (CPD) during school sessions, gained time may be used for such activities.

It would not be appropriate to have staff routinely covering other’s lessons.  Indeed, those subject to the STPCD are contractually obliged to cover only rarely and only in circumstances that are unforeseen.

We are often asked when teaching staff may be asked to cover lessons. The following information should provide assistance, however, please contact the member hotline if you have any additional queries. 

For teaching staff who are subject to the School Teachers Pay and Conditions Document (STPCD), the contractual obligations are clear.

As part of their duties listed under paragraph 51 the STPCD states that teachers may be required to:

“Subject to paragraph 53.7 supervise and so far as practicable teach any pupils where the person timetabled to take the class is not available to do so.”

However, paragraph 53.7 makes clear that:

“Teachers should be required to provide cover in accordance with paragraph 51.7 only rarely, and only in circumstances that are not foreseeable (this does not apply to teachers who are employed wholly or mainly for the purpose of providing such cover).”

Therefore, schools cannot use these teachers to routinely cover during gained time or to cover absences that could have been foreseen, such as maternity.

For staff not covered by the STPCD, the employer would need to check the contract to see what was permissible under its terms.

All teaching staff in community schools.

All teaching staff subject to TUPE in academies.

All non-TUPE teaching staff in academies that have chosen to adopt the STPCD as part of its terms and conditions.

In September 2013, performance-related pay was introduced for all teachers. Fixed points on all pay ranges and allowances were removed from the STPCD, leaving only national minima and maxima. Schools have the flexibility to offer differentiated performance based progression, within a broad national framework. It is for schools to outline in their pay and appraisal policies how they will assess performance and what will constitute the appropriate standard for no pay progression, standard pay progression and enhanced pay progression.

Whilst academies ostensibly have the freedom to choose not to follow the STPCD, they are, in effect, required to adopt performance-related pay as Ofsted will assess how they are using the pay framework to improve standards.

The Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties) Regulations 2011 require schools to prepare and publish equality objectives and publish information to demonstrate that they are meeting their statutory duties. In the context of teachers’ pay decisions, this means that the outcomes should be recorded and reported, taking account of the protected characteristics. 

There is no requirement for performance related pay to be applied to support staff. Indeed those subject to NJC Arrangements, who are not the subject of capability proceedings, are entitled to incremental pay progression.