Here we take a detailed look at teaching in a state – or maintained – school. Who employs you? What are your responsibilities? And what are the financial rewards?
State sector schools are required to deliver the national curriculum set out by the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF), which encompasses literacy and numeracy strategies. It also requires students to take national assessments at the end of key stages; the results are forwarded to local authorities and the DCSF.
If you work in a state school, you’re contractually employed by the local authority. This means you’re paid according to the National Pay Spine, and are required to work 195 days in any academic year. 190 of these are to teach pupils and five days are for staff development.
You are expected to perform such duties that the head teacher requires within a reasonable time scale, and will be expected to do additional hours in order to discharge your professional duties.
As part of your pay and conditions you are required to:
- Teach and have pastoral responsibilities for your students
- Report on students progress
- Maintain order and discipline
- Prepare students for examinations
- Attend staff meetings and parents’ evenings
- Attend in-service training.
As a newly qualified teacher in the state sector in England and Wales you must complete an induction period, which consists of the full-time equivalent of three terms’ work. Extra training is provided by the school during your induction period to help you meet required standards.
In the state sector schools are divided into types according to who runs and maintains them:
- Community Schools - run by the LA.
- Voluntary Aided - run by the LA but a foundation (usually religious) appoints most of the governing body.
- Foundation - these were originally Grant Maintained Schools. The governing body are the contractual employers.
- Community Special Schools - Special schools run by the LA.
- Specialist School - normally in technology, languages, sports or arts. They receive extra funding and offer training to local schools and specialists classes.
What are the benefits for teachers working in state schools?
There is a clear, structured pay scale for all state teachers. It is usual for Newly Qualified Teachers (NQTs) to start on M1 of the pay scale. However, if you have previous employment and hence experience that the school values, then you may be able to negotiate a higher starting salary with the governing body. There are also recruitment and retention points that the school may offer depending on the recruitment and budgetary situation of the school.
In state schools you are able to take advantage of the Teachers’ Pension Scheme that the LA also pays into. You get tax relief on this and the LA pays 8.35% of your salary into it each month. The Teachers’ Pension Scheme is still recognised to be one of the best available.
You are not bound to take after school clubs or undertake a duty during your lunch hour.
There is a high level of professionalism required of state education teachers. To ensure this level continues to improve, the LA provides additional training courses along with in-service training days in school.
Do teachers need any special qualifications to be able to teach in the state sector?
To teach in the state sector teachers need to have Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). To gain this, you are required to have a degree and a formal teaching qualification (although the two can be combined), which is designed for the age group and subject you wish to teach. You need to reach the ‘Professional Standards for Qualified Teacher Status’ by the end of your formal training to gain QTS.
In England and Wales you must also complete an induction period within four years of gaining your teaching qualification. To become a full teacher you need to reach the induction standards by the end of your induction period.
You can only supply teach for a maximum of four terms if you have yet to complete your induction period.
If you’re from overseas your degree must be equivalent to a degree from the UK, you should have the equivalent of GCSE English and Maths and you should be qualified to teach in your own country. Then a conversion programme can be followed once in a school to gain Qualified Teacher Status; for more information, see our Educational Qualifications article.
If you have a doctorate you can’t automatically teach in a secondary school, and a Post Graduate Certificate in Further or Adult Education only allows you to teach in post 16 institutions.
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