Please note: the ATL website is no longer being updated and will be taken down soon.

Visit the new NEU website

Pay and pensions
03 November 2016
Threshold assessment is intended to reward good teachers who want to remain in the classroom.

Any teacher can apply to move on to the upper pay scale. Your school will have in place a policy which details how you should apply and any deadlines for applications. The criteria for accessing the upper pay scale is that:

  • you are highly competent in all elements of the relevant teacher standards
  • your achievements and contribution to your current school are substantial and sustained.

Your school pay policy will outline how these criteria will be measured.

Current arrangements

Members should read the ATL factsheet Threshold and the upper pay range.

The payment applies to full-time, part-time and temporary qualified teachers in England and Wales who work in maintained schools, and in Northern Ireland where a similar system operates. The payment does not apply to teachers in Scotland.

Teachers who 'cross the threshold' are promoted to an upper pay range (worth over £2,500 more than the top point of the main pay scale). Once threshold accreditation is awarded, it is permanent for as long as you remain at that school.

Crossing the threshold is not an automatic process. A teacher has to indicate that they wish to progress and the decision on whether a teacher meets the standards rest with the appraiser or headteacher.

Eligibility for assessment

Assessment is open to all qualified teachers in England and Wales who are legally covered by the School Teachers' Pay and Conditions Document and have qualified teacher status.

In Northern Ireland, teachers are eligible who have been on point M6 for two years and who have successfully undertaken two professional review and staff development cycles.

In both cases, potential applicants should note that:

  • Assessment is made against national standards.
  • Teachers need to notify their headteacher that they wish to be assessed against the standards and the outcome of performance management reviews will be used to make this assessment. Teachers should ensure that their performance management objectives are suitable to allow this assessment to take place, and head teachers should meet with all eligible teachers to ensure that this is the case.
  • In Wales, there has been no change to the application process for crossing the threshold. Teachers should complete an application form and provide evidence as required.
  • In Northern Ireland, applicants are required to provide a summary of evidence to show how they have met the standards in the two-to-three year period leading up to the date of the application.

Teachers in Scotland are paid using a different system and threshold assessment does not apply to them. See the pay scales for maintained teachers in Scotland for details.