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Are Teachers in the UK Middle Class?

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Do the words UK teachers and middle class go together? This could be on your mind if you are contemplating becoming a teacher in the UK. Possibly, you are a teacher in the UK and still wondering.

Are teachers in the UK middle class?

Are teachers in the UK middle class? The UK considers teachers to be a part of the middle-middle class. This class includes people who have a post-secondary education. Students need to continue their studies to become a teacher, so this is one of the biggest reasons for being categorised as part of the middle-middle class. 

What does it mean to be in the middle-middle class in the UK? Is it possible to live a comfortable life in the middle-middle class on a teacher’s salary? Read on for the answer to these questions and other fascinating information!

The UK Class System

The class system in the UK is definitely still in place. However, it is not as important as it once was, especially for Millennials and Generation Z. When it comes right down to it, the entire system centres on money or the “haves and the have-nots”. The better your job, the more specialised you are in your area of expertise, the higher your income. 

Most people living in the UK fall into the Middle-Class category. Such occupations as teachers, nurses, shop owners, and white-collar professionals are all a part of the middle class. 

People of the Middle-Middle Class

As we stated before, one way in which the UK system describes those who are a part of this class is looking at the amount of education one has had or those having a post-secondary education. 

I probably don’t have to tell you it takes three to four years to become a teacher in the UK.  Those that are a part of the middle-class place a high value on education, so it makes sense that teachers are a part of the middle-middle class.

Society’s perspective of those that are a part of the middle class uses the following descriptors:  They are most likely politically and socially engaged. They greatly value culture and the arts. 

There is a recognition that the people in this class are book smart and dedicated to their area of expertise. They will work long hours if needed, and last but not least, they usually enjoy their work and can and will gain advancement in that work. 

An Accurate Description?

Do the sentences above describe you? Do you feel that, as a teacher, the perception held by others is that of being a part of the middle class or going a step further, that they treat you as middle-class citizens?

Perhaps more information is necessary for you to give an answer to the questions above. Keep reading to learn more about a teacher’s salary and how it compares or even fits into living a comfortable middle-middle class life.

A View of Teachers

Most citizens of the UK hold teachers in high regard. Many people believe that the pay teachers receive is not enough. The public believes that the workload of teachers is higher than in many professions, and teachers work too hard for the salary they receive.

It is also felt that teachers spend time, not only with the lesson preparation, but in class dealing with discipline. A majority of parents state that their children have less respect for the teacher than they do their parents. For this reason alone, most people believe that teachers should receive a higher salary. 

The Middle Class and Negative Connotations

Is it a bad thing to be a part of the middle class? Is this a class that one would look down on? Above, we referred to the fact that most people in the UK today are a part of the middle class.

The biggest question would be this: do teachers earn enough in salary to be comfortable living as a middle-class citizen?

Good News

Here is some good news! 

New teacher or starting teacher pay is on the rise! From September 2020, the starting salary for a teacher in their first year will rise by 5.5%.

Depending on the location of the school, this could be £32,157 (inner London), £29,915 (outer London), £26,948 (London Fringe) and £25,714 (The rest of the UK).

A new incentive is being put in place because of a shortfall of new teachers. There is a hope that more people may consider becoming teachers with this raise.

There is also excellent news for teachers and leaders who have been teaching for years. Again, the plans are to give a raise of between 4.95% and 2.75% (depending on level of service). However, I said that I would not get into a lot of numbers. Let me wrap this part up…

Teaching Salary in the UK

Without getting into a lot of numbers and using calculations and comparisons, here is a quick rundown of the average teaching salary in the UK. 

The average new teacher salary in the UK before tax and NI ranges from £24,000 to £40,000. This depends on the size and location of the town or city. A qualified teacher’s salary ranges from £24,000 to £45,000, again depending on the size and location of the town or city.

Digging Deeper

If you are really interested in all the facts and figures regarding teacher pay scales, this article may answer more questions. It is always good to search for information if you are thinking about becoming a teacher.

If you are like me and are saying, “Stop! Too many numbers!” we will move on to the reason the information under the last two subheadings is important when gaining an understanding of teachers in the UK and the middle-middle class!

Cost of Living a Middle-Class Life

The most significant expense that will come out of your monthly wages is your rent. This will often depend on where you live. Yep, there is that whole “size of your salary to the size of the town or city” comparison again. Indeed, the locations that are more expensive to live in are usually the places where you will receive a higher salary.

Finding a balance between having a longer commute, but paying less in rent or walking to school and paying more rent can be a tricky decision. Yet because this is the biggest expense in your budget, it garners solid research and comparison. 

Then are the general expenses: utilities (if not included in your rent), food, TV, Internet, and transportation. These are things that you will most likely pay for monthly. Other miscellaneous expenses might be clothing, entertainment, toiletries, and personal travel plans.

Last but not least, there is the emergency fund; it is vital to have some extra money put aside in case there is an emergency!  

Putting it All Together

You might have noticed that I did not connect any numbers to the cost-of-living list. There are so many determining factors that this would be very hard to do. 

When looking at living a comfortable middle-class life, the consensus seems to be that an income of £30,000 a year would be adequate and allow for the ability to pay for those extras that may pop up unexpectedly or even have extra for eating out or some travel.   

If you are a teacher or considering becoming a teacher, will you be able to live a comfortable middle-class life?  All the shared information seems to point to the fact that when starting out, this could be difficult. It really depends on where you live and where you teach. 

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Teachers in the Middle Class

This topic is one that could easily be up for debate. Should class define you? Does income identify you? What is the importance of class to you? 

Teachers are in demand all over the world. Becoming a teacher is hard work and being a teacher is even more difficult. 

It seems that the consensus is growing that when referring to income, teachers should be solidly in the middle-class. The UK is working on implementing some changes that will eventually get educators the pay that they deserve and that will allow them to live a comfortable middle-class life. 

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Paul Stevens-Fulbrookhttp://teacherofsci.com
Paul Stevens-Fulbrook (TeacherOfSci) is a Science teacher, writer and education blogger based in Brighton, England. He started teacherofsci.com to help support teachers everywhere with the everyday struggles that they are all faced with, both in the classroom and at home.
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