New OECD report reveals comparatively high secondary headteacher pay in England

On 11 September, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) released Education at a Glance 2018. This report drew upon data collected by the OECD looking at the educational “structure, finances and performance” of 36 countries across the world, including the United Kingdom.

Amongst the findings, the report revealed that England has the youngest teaching workforce across all OECD countries for primary education and the second youngest for secondary education. It also found that schools in England had the third highest amount of “autonomy” compared to other OECD countries, with only the Netherlands having the same amount of flexibility to set and timetable the curriculum as schools in England. 

Of particular interest to governors and trustees, this year’s report includes a comparison of pay across the OECD countries. Looking firstly at classroom teacher pay, the data revealed that the “relative earnings gap” between University educated workers and teachers was slightly higher compared to other OECD countries. The data also showed that teacher salaries in England had decreased by 10% in real-terms between 2005 and 2017.

The report also drew some revealing comparisons between secondary school headteacher pay in England and secondary school headteacher pay in other OECD countries. Overall, only Luxembourg surpassed England in terms of how much it paid secondary headteachers per annum, and the pay gap in England between headteachers and classroom teachers in secondary schools was wider than across any other OECD country. Exploring this in more detail, data from 2016 showed that the annual pay for a secondary school headteacher in England was more than double the salary of the average University-educated worker and average secondary classroom teacher.

While local authority schools should continue to follow the school teachers’ pay and conditions document (STPCD) when setting headteacher and teacher pay, academies should carefully consider the pay gap within their organisation between the highest and lowest paid members of staff. In addition, NGA strongly recommend that all governors and trustees should ensure that the pay offered to executive leaders is benchmarked against other similar organisations.  For more on this topic, please read this blog by NGA’s deputy chief executive, Gillian Allcroft.

Published: 14/09/2018, by Tom Fellows
Last Updated: 14/09/2018, by Tom Fellows