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The top five best paid roles in further education

Our 2021 Further Education Salary Guide includes up-to-date figures and data from across all our FE roles, providing realistic and reliable information on salary bandings for each job.

From colleges to prison lecturers to training providers – we have got you covered. Whether you are benchmarking how much you should pay your team, or if you’re looking to see if your own salary is in line with industry rates.

Here are the highest paid roles in FE for 2021:

1. C-suite roles

It comes as no surprise that CEOs/COOs earn the highest salaries within SLT and support roles – with salaries between £150,000 and £250,000, averaging £200,000 per year, in 2021. Second to these roles are college principals, which secure salaries between £70,000 to £140,000, averaging £106,000 per year.

For 2021, the biggest opportunity for candidates will be joining the new revolution of college teaching with technology and learning platforms. New delivery methods such as T Levels, and new curriculum developments, make it an exciting time within the sector.

2. Head of operational unit

In comparison, for academic roles in colleges the highest wage is for head of operational unit - these roles could earn professionals up to £52,000 a year and £220 an hour.

Institutions should take a holistic view when recruiting candidates for any academic college roles. As much as they might want a like-for-like replacement, sometimes the best candidates are the ones who do not tick every box. Instead, they bring fresh skills and the opportunity for employers to shape them to fit their organisation’s needs.

3. Head of quality

Those interested in training provider roles could earn up to £42,000 a year (£48,300 in London) as head of quality - the minimum salary for this role is £35,000 and the average is £42,000 (£48,300 in London).

Across the UK, the strongest candidates in the training provider market are often already in roles and only consider moving to new companies for a higher salary, better benefits or reduced travel. For training providers looking to secure top candidates, they should sell the real, genuine benefits of their organisation in detailed job descriptions.

4. Senco co-ordinator

For those interested in working in prison education, in London, senco co-ordinator roles range from £40,700 to £51,460, averaging £46,000 per year. They are only slightly lower elsewhere in the UK, with minimum salaries at £37,000 and the highest possible salary being £42,884.

Prison education offers great job security, which is highly appealing in the current market. Education is always required, and prisons do not close for any holidays, so candidates are guaranteed work for the year. It also provides a good work-life balance, as you do not take any work home.

5. Head of school/director of curriculum

Another college academic role where you will earn excellent money is to be the director of curriculum, with salaries averaging at £46,000.

Remote teaching has led to more opportunities for colleges and the change has been largely positive. For some courses, colleges can now recruit from a national pool of potential candidates for online delivery – which holds the potential to expand on colleges’ curriculum offering.

To find out more about other roles in the sector, and the average salaries available, download our 2021 Further Education Salary Guide now.


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