Thinking Schools Academy Trust Shortlisted for TES Employer of the Year Award

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Our high-performing Trust has been recognised for our innovative teacher pay structure at prestigious TES awards.  We are one of the country’s leading multi-academy trusts, and  today was shortlisted to be Employer of the Year in the 2018 Schools Awards run by education magazine TES.

As a multi-academy trust running primary and secondary academies in the South-East, we have been recognised for the progressive teacher pay structure that we have developed alongside the National Education Union (NEU), transforming the way teachers are paid and helping to tackle the national challenge of teacher recruitment and retention.

We will find out whether our Trust has won the top prize at an awards ceremony on Friday 22 June at the Grosvenor House Hotel, in London, due to be attended by more than 1,000 VIP guests, including Government ministers and the great and good from the education world.

Thinking Schools’ innovative pay structure has the following key strengths:

  • Newly-qualified teachers are well-remunerated from the start, being guaranteed a minimum starting salary of £25,000 from September 2018 – over £2,000 above the national average
  • Teachers only move up the main pay scale as a result of excellent teaching, creating a rewards-based culture
  • Teachers at the top of the pay scale are rewarded for high performance through a three per cent non-consolidated pay award
  • Bureaucratic barriers to teachers receiving proper awards are removed, and annual incremental increases are introduced, so teachers don’t have to wait two years to be rewarded
  • Teachers at different stages of their career are given tailored support and guidance, and there is a particular effort to help teachers in the first three years of their career


Stuart Gardner, Chief Executive of the Thinking Schools Academy Trust, said:

“We are absolutely delighted to have been nominated for Employer of the Year at the 2018 TES Schools Awards.

“We put a huge amount of work into supporting our fantastic staff, and central to this has been our development of a new pay structure to transform the way they are paid.  It will properly reward teachers for their hard work, and incentivise them stay in the profession and with us – a simple yet powerful aim.

“In fostering a financially secure and motivating environment for teachers, our new pay model directly benefits students through the excellent standard of teaching they will receive. And that is ultimately what our model is all about: ensuring students enjoy a classroom experience which enables them to achieve their best.

“We are looking forward to continuing to develop our offer to staff to provide them the best platform to use their talents in our schools, so that our students can thrive and achieve their potential.”


The awards, now in their 10th year, celebrate the extraordinary commitment, quality, and innovation shown by teachers and support staff across the UK.

Among other awards are those celebrating high-performing teachers in different subjects, innovative uses of technology, creativity, and alternative provision.