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Pay in Scotland


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Latest Pay Update - September 2015

On 11 September 2015, the NASUWT, the fastest growing teachers’ union in Scotland, rejected the 2015-17 pay and conditions offer for teachers from local authority employers.

The NASUWT has rejected the offer as inadequate and unacceptable to address the shortfall in teachers’ pay and working conditions since 2011.

The key elements of the 2015-17 offer were as follows:

  1. A two-year pay deal providing a 1.5% uplift for 2015/16 and a further 1% uplift for 2016/17 on all scales and spinal points.
  2. To agree that an evaluation and review of the impact of the recommendations of the Supply Teachers' Working Group will be concluded by January 2016 with a view to addressing any ongoing issues in the delivery of supply teaching.
  3. To agree a statement and principles for managing teacher workload.

On canvassing members’ opinion on the offer there was overwhelming support for a rejection. The offer:

  • does not make any progress towards restoring teachers’ pay to pre-2011 levels, despite the fact that teachers are thousands of pounds worse off as a result of the year-on-year real-terms cuts to their salaries;
  • fails to address the full restoration of supply teachers’ pay and conditions, with the Employer instead opting for a delaying tactic rather than recognising that the main solution to improving availability of supply cover is to fully restore supply teachers’ pay and conditions immediately.
  • seeks to link the development and implementation of strategies to address and manage teacher workload with accepting the pay offer. Excessive workload remains the chief concern of members and schools and employers should already be putting in place effective strategies to tackle this issue as a result of recommendations agreed by the Scottish Government’s Tackling Bureaucracy Working Group. Strategies to address and manage teacher workload should not, therefore, be dependent on accepting pay offers which will worsen teachers’ pay and conditions of service.
  • will not address the deeply worrying trend of teacher shortages, to which pay and workload are contributing factors.

A more detailed summary of the offer and the NASUWT position is available in the following:

The NASUWT has been undertaking a continuing campaign of industrial action since 2011 over pay and conditions of service, including workload and job loss, in furtherance of its national trade dispute with the Scottish Government. This action will continue in order to seek to protect teachers against attacks on their conditions of service. Further information is also available in support of the NASUWT industrial action.

There is clear anger and frustration at the refusal by Employers and the Scottish Government to act to reverse the attacks on their pay and conditions which are driving up stress levels and contributing to a record low in teacher morale.

The 2013 - 2015 Pay Award

In 2014, the NASUWT National Executive  rejected the pay and conditions of service package offered by the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) for 2013-15. At a meeting of the  Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers (SNCT) on 10 March, all parties, with the exception of the NASUWT, accepted the revised pay award. Throughout the long process of negotiation very little change has been made to the original offer and the NASUWT is the only union consistently to have opposed this.

The NASUWT is absolutely clear that this award is not in the best interests of the teaching profession in Scotland for the following reasons:

  • the 1% pay award imposed on public service workers, including teachers across the UK, does nothing to address the significant pay cuts teachers have suffered since 2010/11. In Scotland the position is far worse in that Scottish teachers are the only teachers in the UK to have had strings attached to the 1%;
  • the slight improvements on offer for supply teachers do very little to restore the significant pay cut supply teachers have suffered, or to address the growing shortage of supply teachers;
  • the changes made to teachers’ conditions of service will worsen current provisions and have the potential to increase already excessive workload.

The NASUWT has issued previously extensive information on the Union’s concerns about the package and is dismayed that these detrimental provisions have been accepted by others. At the SNCT teachers’ panel on 2 September 2013, the Employer’s previous offer was tabled. Although the original offer of a 1% pay increase for 2013 had been extended for a second year, COSLA made it clear that the offer remained conditional upon all sides agreeing the changes to terms and conditions of service proposed by the McCormac Working Groups, including the Duties Working Group, which the NASUWT has consistently rejected. 

The key elements of the 2013-15 offer were as follows:

  1. A two-year pay deal providing a 1% uplift for 2013/14 and a further 1% uplift for 2014/15 on all scales and spinal points.
  2. Changes to a number of provisions for supply teachers: 
  • short-term supply to be defined as three days; 
  • no cap on the maximum class contact time for short-term supply teachers; 
  • an automatic 10% planning, preparation and correction (PPC) time.
  1. Teachers to deliver on the implementation of all the McCormac Working Group recommendations.

This was a derisory offer which would have worsened teachers' conditions of service and does nothing to restore the significant pay cut that teachers have endured since 2010. A more detailed summary of the offer and the NASUWT position is available in the following:

Further information is available at www.nasuwt.org.uk/COSLA.

The NASUWT, as part of the SNCT Teachers’ Side, is aware of the understandable unrest which has resulted from the two-year pay freeze on public sector workers, including teachers by the Scottish Government and COSLA. This pay freeze has impacted upon all Scottish teachers and it is likely that, as many independent schools use the state pay grades and annual rises as a marker for their pay scales, these schools have also imposed the pay freeze. At a time of rising cost of living, teachers and other public service workers in Scotland and indeed across the whole of the UK are facing a significant pay cut. 

Further information is available in the NASUWT Representatives' Bulletins.

NASUWT members in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales have voted for a programme of action short of strike action and for strike action to challenge attacks on pay, pensions, working conditions and jobs. For further information, click the 'Industrial Action Latest' button on the right-hand side of the page.

Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers (SNCT)

The Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers (new window) (SNCT) is a negotiating framework for teachers’ pay and conditions of service. It is a tripartite body comprising members from teaching organisations, Local Authorities, and the Scottish Government (new window).

Pay Scales

The NASUWT Salary Card is available at Teachers and Leadership Group Salary Scales (Scotland) and the current and previous SNCT Salary Tables are available on the SNCT website, including:

The Distant Island Allowance information is available in the Circulars and Letters section of the SNCT Handbook (new window).

Teacher’s Pay

The number of scales, their points and the salary for each point are determined by the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers (SNCT). The generation of a management structure on the basis of these scales lies completely with the local authorities. Principal Teacher posts have now been introduced in the primary sector also. The Union has also produced advice concerning Pay and Career Progression.

The Chartered Teachers Scheme

Chartered Teacher status is available to those who have reached the top of the main scale. Chartered teachers should receive one salary increment on the Chartered Teacher pay spine for every 2 modules completed as detailed in section 1.25 of Part 2 of the SNCT Handbook (new window).

However, access for Scottish teachers to higher salaries compares unfavourably to teachers in England and Wales. Teachers in England and Wales can apply for assessment to cross the threshold to higher salaries. The employer is required to process that assessment and 95% of those who apply are successful. Since September 2007, all teachers have an entitlement to continuing professional development to support their career and pay progression.

The requirement for teachers to pay fees to access the Scheme and the time and workload burdens associated with participation are not only prohibitive to the majority of teachers but also are potentially discriminatory.

There is no equivalent of the Upper Pay Spine (operated in England and Wales) in Scotland. It is more akin to the Advanced Skills Teacher status. Access to the Chartered Teachers scale is unfortunately both time-consuming and expensive and is an area on which the NASUWT is campaigning for reform.

Performance Management

Unlike England, where there is a “Performance Management” agreement, there is no agreed procedure for teacher appraisal in Scotland. Each individual school and authority will of course have an agreed monitoring procedure (discussed and agreed at school or LNCT level). It is also standard practice for schools to make reference to the Quality Indicators in How good is our school (new window) (HGIOS).

A head teacher is entitled to observe classroom practice throughout the year. If a member feels they are being targeted for an excessive number of observations they should contact the local office as it may be necessary to utilise the local authority’s bullying and harassment procedure. Alternatively this may be forewarning that the school has concern’s regarding their competency and similarly contact should be made with the local office.

The General Teaching Council for Scotland (new window) (GTCS) Code of Competency is in Appendix 2.12 of Part 2 of the SNCT Handbook (new window). This code provides the definition of competence which is used for the Standard for Full Registration and also sets out the process for dealing with short lived under performance and long running under performance. This code is not intended as a stick to beat fully qualified teachers with, rather it is intended to provide a base line which can be used for professional review and development.

Family Friendly Rights

The main source of maternity information for local authority teachers is Section 7 of Part 2 of the SNCT Handbook (new window), including length of service qualifications and maternity pay. 

Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) provides minimum rights and individual employers are at liberty to give more should they wish. An employee should check their contract and the staff handbook in their school to see whether the school provide greater than the statutory minimum.

Advice on the legal requirements is assessing risks in relation to new and expectant mothers’ job activities is set out in the Health and Safety Executive booklet New and Expectant Mothers at Work (new window).

The NASUWT produces guidance for members with children on the provisions for Maternity, paternity and parental leave and pay. The guidance also contains information on rights to time off for family and domestic reasons.

Members have the right to apply to work flexibly where they have:

  • children aged under 17;
  • disabled children aged under 18; or
  • carer responsibilities. 

The NASUWT has produced guidance on requesting Flexible working

Each Local Authority will have a job share policy agreed with the local Negotiating Committee for Teachers (LNCT) that regulates the application process, as well as what happens when one job sharer leaves or wants to become full time.

Any Salary Sacrifice arrangements or other family friendly policies will be contained within a local agreement. Details of how a LNCT committee should operate are contained in the SNCT Handbook (new window).

Temporary workers and supply teachers

The Code of Practice on the Use of Temporary Contracts is set out in Appendix 2.8 of Part 2 of the SNCT Handbook (new window).

Transfer of temporary teachers to permanent staff has, under the new SNCT Handbook, been devolved to local level. The national position as it used to be is set out in Part 4 of the new handbook section 8.5 (new window).

Most Local Authorities will have their own policy agreed via the local Negotiating Committee for Teachers (LNCT), for example one authority allows temporary staff to apply after two years and provided their school reports are satisfactory they will be given a 0.7 permanent contract.

If there is no local agreement then an employee will nevertheless after one year have gained unfair dismissal rights. If they remain on an annually renewable temporary contract for 4 years this automatically becomes a permanent contract under law.

The NASUWT provides advice on the rights of Supply Teachers, Teachers who work on a temporary basis or fixed-term contracts and Teachers working for employment agencies.

Any teacher taking on a temporary or ‘fixed-term’ contract should contact the Scotland National Centre.

The McCrone Agreement

In January 2000 the Scottish Parliament established a Committee of Inquiry into teachers’ pay, promotion structures and conditions of service. It was chaired by Professor Gavin McCrone CB.

The NASUWT provided detailed written and oral evidence to the Inquiry.

In August 2000 an Implementation Group was set up comprising representatives of Government, employers and teacher unions, to take forward the McCrone recommendations. The NASUWT was represented on the Group and associated working parties and participated fully in negotiating the Agreement that was finally reached.

The National Agreement: A Teaching Profession for the 21st Century (new window) was introduced in August 2001, although some aspects were phased in. Full implementation was completed in August 2006. The SNCT Handbook (new window) contains the nationally negotiated terms and conditions of service for teachers working in local authority schools in Scotland. The SNCT handbook took effect from 1st August 2007.

The NASUWT has produced advice and information concerning the agreement in the Union’s publication McCrone Agreement in Scotland - Information to Members.


The NASUWT provides a brief outline of the various tax allowances which teachers are eligible to claim under UK legislation in the NASUWT's brief guide to tax for teachers and Supply Teachers: You and Your Tax.

Further Education Colleges

Further Education Colleges do not have nationally agreed pay or terms and conditions of employment. Each establishment agrees their own and do not come under remit of the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers (new window) (SNCT).

Further information or assistance

Members needing further information or assistance should contact the Scotland National Centre.