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Working out TA Pay

Discussion in 'Teaching assistants' started by Ophelia 9, May 27, 2014.

  1. Ophelia 9

    Ophelia 9 New commenter

    As there have been a lot of posts on this topic recently I have tried to work out the peculiarities of this in my own Local Authority - this is the largest one in the country and I'm guessing some of the other big councils might share this same system. I must point out that this will only relate to state schools in England - academies and free schools can pay whatever they like, and different rules will certainly apply in Scotland and quite possibly in Wales and Northern Ireland too - so I'm admitting this may not necessarily be of help to many people asking the question but here goes with my quick guide to how you might work out actual pay as opposed to the rather attractive figure which may be quoted in a job advert!

    Within my LA a level 3 TA will be paid at Grade 3 which is a full-time, all-year-round rate of £18638 - £23945 - if you are a new TA you will almost certainly start at the bottom of the scale and will be entitled to a whole-time annual leave of 5 weeks per year. You are likely to be employed for 32.5 hours per week.

    Number of weeks paid: 39 school weeks (this is 38 when the children are in and the other week is made up of the 5 Training Days (some TAs say they don't get paid for these but instead work the other 5 days during school holidays - if this is the case you should not be expected to attend training days in school but otherwise you are paid for them and will be expected to attend).

    You will have a proportion of 5 weeks annual leave and 2.4 weeks bank holiday/concessionary days - your paid year will be worked out like this:

    39 weeks + 5 weeks annual leave + 2.4 bank hols = 46.4 weeks

    of that 7.4 weeks is leave so divide by 52.142 weeks (this is one of those peculiarities - I have no idea why it's 52.142 - I could understand 52.25 to allow for leap years) and multipl;y by the 46.4 weeks you are employed for and this gives you 6.59 weeks paid holiday which is then added to the 39 school weeks to give a total of 45.59 payable weeks each year.

    To work out actual pay then it is like this:

    Divide the full time rate of £18638 by 52.142 and x by 45.59 = £16296

    Now divide £16296 by 36.5 (full-time hours) and x by 32.5 (your own hours) = £14510.14

    I have seen the final figure quoted as £14512 actual pay per year so you can see there is still some strange jiggery-pokery which I haven't quite worked out to get an exact figure but it's close enough!

    This payment of £14512 is split into 12 equal monthly payments by another fiendish calculation of your working hours spread across the 52 weeks so if your payslip shows the hours you've been paid it will be something like 28.42 hours per week rather than the 32.5 you actually work for 45.59 weeks in the year!

    If you want to work out take-home pay there are lots of very useful take-home pay calculators online:


    - don't forget to factor in if you are paying pension ( I would always advise that you do so, even with changes to the Local Government Pension Scheme it's still a lot better than just relying on the state pension), and union contributions ( again, really important for staff working in schools)

    Finally, I do know that our LA is one of the best paid ones and I know that many TAs will consider this example unimaginably high - anyone interested in becoming a TA needs to be aware that in many areas TAs will be working far less than 32.5 hours, on lower levels, and on much lower rates - a great many of them do not earn the £10000 needed to pay income tax so please do not assume any jobs you apply for will be comparable to the example I've just given - but the rough calculation should give you an idea of how much a job will actually pay.
  2. Trekkie

    Trekkie Occasional commenter

    Thank you Ophelia, for all your hard work! Lots of threads recently on TA pay so hopefully this will help.

    Interestingly, as you point out, some LEAs pay much less - our level 3 top of the scale is £19,400 (full time) and our weekly hours are 25 rather than 32.
  3. Ophelia 9

    Ophelia 9 New commenter

    Thanks for the information, Trekkie - I do know that areas quite close to us geographically pay incredibly low rates - a friend actually moved here last year for the salary I quoted above as, even with higher rent payments, it was still so much more than she could get locally, and there are people who will travel quite a long distance every day for the same reason.

    Your example, using my quick calculation, would work out at a gross pay of around £11618, and that's at the TOP of the level, so probably substantially less for a new starter! I can't emphasise enough that people need to scour the details in job adverts - to be fair our LA now often put in an actual gross pay in their adverts as well as the full-time and I'm always dubious about those which don't - suspecting that the actual pay is scandalously low. I wouldn't want anyone to look at my post and assume they will get paid £14000 when £8000 - £9000 is much more realistic where they work.

    However, I expect, and really do hope, that being a TA is not a job which would attract people looking for high earnings!
  4. Trekkie

    Trekkie Occasional commenter

    Yes, that's about it for top of the scale! You are right in saying we definitely don't do this job for the money!

    There does seem to be quite a number of posters who get a nasty surprise on their first pay day. Hopefully your post will give prospective TAs a helping hand with their salary calculations.
  5. Ophelia 9

    Ophelia 9 New commenter

    Just upping this thread again because I've noticed the question being asked again (more than once, in fact)! I'm always happy to help people out if I can but I rarely have time to do the working out every time I see a question about it so I hope this might help - I have tried this out on pay scales for a number of different jobs I've seen and, although you won't get an exactly accurate figure, this should give you an approximation reasonably close to the actual pay.
  6. Ophelia 9

    Ophelia 9 New commenter

    I just thought I'd up this again as I was looking at it myself to try and understand what actual hourly rate I'm paid according to the documents sent out by the unions regarding the new pay offer - I remain fairly baffled and can only reiterate that any figures gleaned from my suggested calculations are likely to be a little out - I think my problem arises from full time hours being 37 but there being some kind of agreement in our LA after Single Status that 36.5 hours would be treated as full-time - either way, I can't get the damn calculation back to the hourly rate quoted (fortunately the discrepancy seems to be in my favour!)

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