Are teachers in the top 10% of earners in some areas? – BBC

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan has said that teachers are in the top 10% of earners in some parts of the country.
Ms Keegan was interviewed by LBC's Nick Ferrari on 21 December. She was asked about the teacher strike ballots and working conditions for school staff.
Ms Keegan said in the interview that "the average salary of a classroom teacher is £39,000".
This is correct. Government figures show that state school classroom teachers in England were paid a mean average salary of £38,982 in 2021 (with the median average salary a touch higher). This compares with £39,009 in Wales and £40,026 in Scotland.
Teacher salaries vary depending on location. For example, a teacher working in London can expect to earn more than a teacher at the same level located elsewhere in the country.
For the 2022-23 academic year, teachers working in England but outside London received a starting salary of £28,000. This is set to rise to £30,000 by 2024.
Ms Keegan also told LBC that head teachers earned an average salary of £95,000.
This figure is much higher than the salary reported by official statistics. In 2021 the average head teacher salary in England was £74,100.
Speaking to Channel 4 on 22 December, Ms Keegan clarified the £95,000 figure referred to secondary school head teachers, which would be accurate.
"My cousin's just started teaching and she's on £28,000. She lives in Knowsley… it's a good career, it's probably in the top 10% of earners in some parts of the country," Ms Keegan said in the interview.
It is not clear whether Ms Keegan was speaking about the starting or average teacher salary being in the top 10% of earners.
To be in the top 10% of earners across the country, a full-time employee would have to earn a monthly salary of at least £5,090, according to October 2022 estimates from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
This would be more than £61,000 a year. It means that 90% of full-time employees across the country earn less than this amount.
The starting salary mentioned in the interview – £28,000 – is roughly half of that figure. The average classroom teacher salary of about £39,000 would also be a long way short of the top 10%.
But Ms Keegan said "some parts of the country". The ONS figures show that – where the data is available for larger local authorities – there is no area in England in which the minimum salary to get you into the top 10% of earners is less than £53,840.
As a smaller local authority, the ONS do not have figures for the salary that would get you into the top 10% in Knowsley. But figures show that you needed to earn £43,050 to even get into the top 20% in Knowsley in 2022.
This was another claim made by the education secretary on LBC.
The mean UK full-time salary is £39,966, according to the figures for April 2022 from the ONS.
In this instance, the mean average teacher salary (£38,982) is lower than the mean UK average salary across all professions.
The median average salary for a classroom teacher – the amount that half of full time employees will be earning more than, and half will be earning less than – is £39,492. This is higher than the median UK salary of £33,000.
Responding to the interview, shadow education secretary Bridget Phillipson said that Ms Keegan's comments show that she is "complacent about the teacher-recruitment and retention crisis happening in our schools".
In the Autumn statement, the government announced an extra £2bn funding for schools over the next two years.
The BBC contacted the Department for Education for a response but has not yet received a reply.
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