Are Teachers Public Sector Workers?

In General by Think Student EditorLeave a Comment

People may often wonder about the employment of some workers, about who exactly employs them, why they are employed, and who pays the workers. One grey area a lot of people may sometimes become confused about are public sector workers. Some people aren’t exactly sure who they are exactly, and others wonder if teachers are part of this field of work. Are teachers public sector workers?

To put it briefly, yes, the some of the teachers in the UK do work in the public sector, meaning that they work in services or enterprises controlled by the UK government. This is important to note, because this means that a good part of teachers is therefore paid by and employed by the government through the schools. However, some of the teachers in the UK actually work in the private sector, which means they are employed by their respective schools, which are usually private.

While this may have cleared up any confusion briefly, the rest of the article may be helpful for assisting with further questions.

Is a teacher in the public sector?

Not quite. While some teachers are employed by the government and work in the public sector, some of teachers work in the private sector. To be able to tell what teachers are in the public sector and which ones are not, it’s important to properly understand what public sector workers are and how this relates to teachers.

What exactly are public sector workers in the UK?

Public sector workers are workers employed and managed by the government to work in public places and help maintain the public. While the public sector workers are employed by the government, it is often through another party, I.e., schools.

In the September of 2022, there were an estimated 5.77 million people employed by the government as public sector workers. This was approximately 28,000 more than in June 2022, and 73,000 more than in September 2021. To read more about these statistics, you can visit the Office for National Statistics page for this article.

What is the difference between public sector and private sector teachers in the UK?

As mentioned previously, teachers are not always public sector workers. As stated, a percentage of teachers work in the private sector.

This may lead you to wonder, what exactly is the difference between the public and private sector workers then? Well, private sector workers aren’t employed by the government. Instead, private sector workers are employed by their respective institutions.

Private sector teachers typically work in private schools. Private sector teachers are also expected to be more multi-tasking and efficient. As well as this, private sector teachers are also usually expected to do consultancy work and research work.

Private sector employment was an estimated 27 million for September 2022, which was lower than June 2022 by 1000, and higher than September 2021 by 117,000. These statistics have been backed by the Office for National Statistics, found on their website here.

Are teaching assistants public sector workers?

To put it briefly, yes, teaching assistants are public sector workers most of the time. In some less frequent cases, teaching assistants may be employed in the private sector. However, private, and independent schools typically have fewer teachers and fewer pupils, so there is generally not much need for teaching assistants.

Teaching assistants are often deployed for three main reasons. These are as support for the whole class (usually done in primary rather than secondary school), to be in-class targeted assistants to help students with special education needs, and for withdrawal intervention delivery. As private school classes are a lot smaller, teachers usually do not need extra support for the whole class, and they typically also have more extensive pastoral care for each pupil.

According to the Department for Education, 2018, teaching assistants make up approximately a quarter (28%) of the overall public sector workforce in the teaching industry specifically. A more detailed report about teaching assistants can be found on the Assets Publishing Service of the UK government website, here.

Teaching assistants are therefore more often used in the public sector, rather than private.

Who is classed as a public sector worker in the UK?

A public sector worker is anyone who works in services or enterprises controlled by the UK government. The Office of National Statistics found that one in six employed people worked in services found in the public sector.

There are over 300 different occupations that the public sector covers, with an extremely diverse range of them. Some notable examples include barristers, skilled tradespeople, managers, and directors, caring and leisure workers, and plant operatives. More can be found about these statistics on the Office of National Statistics website here.

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