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I've done some work on occasion for a local secondary school (one of several over the years) who've asked me for some idea on what sort of costs might be involved for them if they were to employ a full or part time technician to handle their theatre requirements.


Their stage is a fairly well equipped one, for a UK school, though some of the lantern stock leaves something to be desired. But there's a good basis on which to build.


Apart from the obvious caveat that this technician would likely need to get in some short training courses, eg WaH, electrical safety, etc etc, I was wondering what the average tech salary bracket would be.


The 'spec' I've been quoted (and this is a very rough fag-packet statement) is:

Ideally, I would like them to be able to do the following, if they can not do everything then we would be able to provide training.


Rig, focus and run Lights (school productions)

Be in charge of upkeep of lights and lighting system


Computer literate - They would need to be able to edit videos and music


If full time

In class support - Video cameras, lights and sound

Small group work to train on lights and sound system.


Now I know that there are quite a few of you guys out there who ARE school techs, either primarily for stage work or as a part of your duties. So - what sort of figures are we talking?


Another option might be an hourly rate for occasional duties.


And as is my wont, I'm going to ask that only those with ACTUAL experience of the job make comment/post on this. Apologies to the NG crowd, but speculation from student 'head technicians' is largely irrelevant.



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I'm not a school tech myself, but to my mind a theatre is a theatre, whether it happens to be within a school or not. The incumbent of any post that might be created in the school of which you speak is pretty much going to be a head of department (albeit a department of 1!), and the TMA/BECTU minimum for a grade 1 is £7.43 per hour. Assuming a 37-hour week, 52 weeks a year, this suggests a MINIMUM of £14,295 per year - and I suspect they'd struggle to get anything other than a fairly young, relatively inexperienced technician at that rate.
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Hi Tony


Looking around for jobs at the moment salaries seem to be varying between £14/15k in some places to £23/24k in the nicer private schools.


My official hours for the drama department make up 15 of my 35 a week. This covers keeping things going in the drama department (sorting scripts/ordering books/tidying etc) to all the tech stuff for the exams/shows/awards evenings and all the other events. It also varies quite a bit. Some weeks I will be doing next to nothing for them however at other times I will be doing 60 hour weeks to make sure the show goes


One good thing about offering a part time job is that you may entice someone who you wouldnt be able to get full time in order for them to just have a steady regualr income and still be able to go off when needed - I know this is what many of the other techs do in different departments around the school do and something I would like to move towards. It also links a person to the school in a greater way than a just getting them in for a day now and then which may occasionally cause problems


Hope this helps




A concurrent post has been automatically merged from this point on.


Just to add links to 3 current job posts of school techs!









there was also a £14k one knocking around a couple of weeks back but I cant find it anymore!



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I am a school technician, with responsibility for music as well- I'm also based in the IT dept. I won't hesitate to say that I am a young and relatively inexperienced tech, although I like to think I know quite a lot for my age. The job was offered to me as I left the sixth form having done my A Levels. When I started, I essentially had a keen interest- didn't know anything about lighting, knew enough about sound to get a decent grade at A2 Music Tech, and that's about it. Since then I feel I've learned more than I ever did during school (and I'm not unintelligent by any means, and have damn good A level results to prove it).

My basic salary is around about £14.5k, but when you cut that down to term time only, it ends up nearer £12.5k. However, I do a hell of a lot of overtime above and beyond the 37.5 hours a week, which bumps it all up...

If you do have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask, and sorry for the slightly jumbled and terribly written post- I'm shattered and can't be bothered to type it out properly...

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As above the brackets are anywhere from 12k to 25k+, depending on how much responsibility the job entails. Some are setup as a facility manager, with the technician running the theatre, some are just technician posts answering to the head of drama/performing arts.


Something to consider is full time versus term time. I work full time (similar contract to the caretakers) and this gives me time to do maintenance and be onsite while contractors are in for installs/maintenance/testing etc. It does mean that I take some of my holiday/TOIL in term time though.


Another point they need to consider is management structure. Is this person a drama dept technician, a centralised theatre technician, a performing arts technician (helping music/dance as well), or even a member of the site team with responsibility for the theatre.

This may seem trivial but it will affect what is expected of them. If drama think they have a dept technician they will expect to be able to give them photocopying to do/tidying etc and might grumble when they get nicked to do other things in the school, if the technician is centralised they have more juggling to do to keep everyone happy.


Would they be expected to assist caretakers? I do a fair bit of caretaker-ly jobs in the performing arts dept. Putting up boards/shelves, changing lamps, fixing things etc. I also go and help the caretakers if there is a big job that needs an extra pair of hands (and they come and help me when I have stage to build or floor to lay).


Lastly, in all honesty one technician is a bit useless. Work at height on your own? Late nights on your own? Set building with power tools on your own? Moving scenery on your own?

Who becomes the number 2 to assist this technician for the 1001 jobs that need two people?


Lots there for them to think about. If you/the school want to ask any more questions I'm happy for you/them to ring/email/send a carrier pigeon. PM me for a number.

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I work a 38 hour week (so technically part time, just) through term time. My duties per annum include supporting the drama dept for GCSE and A Level exams, supporting the music dept in their three major concerts, two major school productions, and countless sixth form lectures, recitals, charity and other events. We also supply lighting and PA systems to other events around the college (and it's associated prep school) for things like dinners and discos to reduce hire costs, and I liase with external hires of the theatre - everything from theatre groups to conferences. On top of this I am responsible for the maintenance of the technical equipment within the venue, which is almost a full-time job in itself, and I do my fair share of tidying up after drama rehearsals - the students tend to be a lot better at bringing props and furniture into the space from every far corner of the site than they are at taking it back again.


Since our venue is used very extensively, a lot of the prep & focus time ends up being in the evening. For WAH etc outside of working hours and the tighter turnarounds that we can't handle in-house we have a local technician on a retainer for few days a term in addition to myself. The training I have received have been WAH - ladders and scaffold tower construction, and manual handling - no formal electrical safety training.


My pay is certainly on the low side (considering the amount of anti-social hours involved) but my contract includes accommodation. For this post I have a degree in Sound Engineering and around 3-4 years previous experience in live sound for event and theatre.


Edit: typo

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I'm a theatre technician in a private school that doesn't teach drama (but they may be starting too soon) so I do approx. 3 shows a year with our secondary level students, 2-3 with our junior school and the odd alpha pack set up for our infants.

I get £17500 per annum, but I am full time, 24 days annual leave a year, plus a few school closure ones extra. I also get a "management point" £2000 for being in charge of our volunteer "Stage staff" student section, the boys have to do something extra years 10 and, and tech-ing is one option of a few.

I manage the bookings of the hall, assembly assistance, chair moving, assist caretakers if needed and also do video editing, audio editing for languages (less now that before) and tech the music concerts (3 a year).

I don't normally work outside the 8-4 slots unless we have techs/dresses/shows after schools, or outside bookings that have to book me as well. I get time in lieu for these, which I can only take in the holidays.


I did a b-tec dip (triple distinction) a a year working part time in another local school along with part time Teaching assistant before this job, got it at 21. I know I don't have the most experience, and therefore wouldn't look to getting paid a huge amount more, as I would with more experience.


the number two?? any student with an ounce of common sense (and that amount is rare!) or a willing caretaker/maintenance worker/gardener!!

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Something to consider is full time versus term time. I work full time (similar contract to the caretakers) and this gives me time to do maintenance and be onsite while contractors are in for installs/maintenance/testing etc. It does mean that I take some of my holiday/TOIL in term time though.


Lastly, in all honesty one technician is a bit useless. Work at height on your own? Late nights on your own? Set building with power tools on your own? Moving scenery on your own?

Who becomes the number 2 to assist this technician for the 1001 jobs that need two people?


Two very good points there. Im term time only and occasionally I would kill to have a few days during the holidays just to do all those upkeep jobs that can be done so much quicker when no one else is around. Also all the staff (occasionally) seem to be surprised that Ive done nothing on their project over the holidays while they've done lots on it themselves. The TOIL system works to a point, I'm currently owed 2.5 ish days, it was up to 7 at one point!


As for the second its a very good point but one that isnt taken seriously enough in schools. I did work for a local private school for their A level drama exams. I agreed to meet them at a certain time in the theatre as they said they had to set stuff up as well. I got there to find they were just leaving and pointed to where the scope was. I explained unless someone was around I wasn't going up it and got left with a student who was setting up sound which was fair enough. The next day over lunch the teacher explained her shock saying something along the lines of "I always thought technicians were the sort of people who would do stupid things and occasionly someone would get hurt but it was all OK". At the school I work at Im lucky enough to have a caretaker whos interested in tech which helps alot, however hes leaving so it could get interesting!



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I've worked as a full time tech in education for 9 years and I have to say the bracket is fairly large, ranging from 13k to 30k. Depending on the school and the responsibilities of the tech.

I also do a fair bit of teaching tech as my students can opt to take technical modules during their GCSE, AS and A level courses and because of this, and because of the unavoidable unsocial hours my pay reflects the upper end of that bracket. I also manage my own budget so that's a management point there. I also now work alone for 2 thirds of the year only getting an asst. during the chaotic exam period so again my salary reflects that to an extent. the AVERAGE appears to be around the 20K mark, but in my view this is scandalous for a skilled worker. Especially as many schools expect their tech to be able to:

Design and operate lighting.

Design and operate sound.

Maintain all the equipment.

Design and build set and props.

Provide Classroom and teaching support.

Edit graphics and audio, and even video.

Be there pretty much ALL the time including during holidays as this is when they may have summer schools or outside companies using the theatre.


To put it in context the average newly qualified teacher earns around 28K a year, but they are easily substituted when ill with another teacher or sub. To expect to get a person capable of doing all that technical work WELL for under 25K is outrageous.

Unfortunately this stems from the fact that when devising the post and it's salary most school bursars consult the industry newspapers and see the horribly low wages advertised for technicians (13K being all too common) and think that this reflects the responsibilities and thus the wage of their own employee.


This is not the case, leaving aside the point that most technical posts in pro theatre are too low paid anyway, in a well run venue each technician is part of a well structured team, with their own jobs, properly managed breaks and the techs duties form a small part of the overall production. In a school the technician is usually working alone in an environment where they are the only person who understands what it is that they actually DO.

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Is the post you're asking about primarily AV support, or will it be in addition to other duties such as ICT?


I've been working in the same (private fee paying) school all my working life, I complete 25 years this summer :blink:

I started as an AVA technician alongside a senior technician, but as computers came in and AV began to reduce, I was moved to full-time ICT support, assisting the AVA technician as and when needed. In 2003 the school decided the lay-off the full time AVA technician, and I was given responsibility for the AV duties alongside ICT, this includes being a thatre technician a few times a year.

It would seem to be becomeing the 'norm' for schools not to have dedicated AV support, unless they have a dedicated theatre or other similar facility, which we do not, we have school halls!

Many schools are now integrating AV support in to the ICT support department, often (like us) with one of the technicians have both ICT and AV skills adequate enough for the day to day AV support and theatre support as required, not to the same level as a full time theatre technician, but enough to give the drama dept technical support.


It's therefore difficult to give even a ball-park figure for salary. If the post is for a full time theatre based technician, then I would suggest the salary would be vuagely (sp?) in line with the theatre industry, as it's essentially the same job, but based in an educational environment.


In my case, I have an enhanced salary to reflect the additional AV resposibilities, enhanced on top of the 'going rate' for an ICT technician, which seems to vary greatly!


My best guess is in the region of 12k to 20k depending on all the usual factors such as experience, qualifications and if there is any managerial responibility.

Unless the school has a very busy theatre, I would imagine it will be pro-rata term-time only possibly with addition 'out-of-hours' work.


Schools are always looking where to save money, pro-rata is one way.

"Do we *really* need the technician here 'till 5pm when the pupils leave at 3.30pm?" etc etc


Hope this helps a little :)

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It's interesting that whilst you might expect that the majority of work could be done 8-4pm or whatever, the majority of our rehearsals, after school activities, and setting up for dinners / events etc often tends to be in the evening. I think also with a busy educational venue you do have to go a fair bit beyond what would be expected of you professionally - the fact that there's no housekeeping support on a Saturday evening, so who's going to clean mop the toilets and take out the rubbish?
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I'm a science technician with AV responsibility. Salary in the same range as everyone else here is quoting (i.e. £crap!). The contract is term-time only though, which someone else commented upon, which means you get all the school holidays but you don't get paid for them. I have to ask for extra days to do most stage related work as the hall is also used for dinnners so is never free for scaffolding work before I finish for the day.


The management let me do pretty well as I please as they recognise there's no-one here who knows better (including drama staff when we've got any - new head starts in September :)!) so if they ignore me they'll have to pay. I do what I'm comfortable with (all basic stage light and sound work) and hire in when I'm not (eg permanently fixing anything overhead) or when I'm not allowed to (eg electrical installation work).


I'd no previous experience of AV work when I started so I've picked it up reading widely and annoying everyone here with my questions.

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I, again, fall into the fairly poor salary bracket. I am paid pro-rata, meaning I only get paid 45.4 weeks out of 52, but I get paied every month, regardless of holidays. My quotes salary is around £17k (thats for the full 52 weeks)


I am currently trying to negotiate more cash. I work till around 7.30pm on a Thurs evening and lock up the school. I do not get paid any more cash for this, despite being a key holder.


I have managed to accumulate around 60hrs of overtime, which I will not get paid for. I will have to take Time in Lieu.


Before I began the job I heard about a possible government review on the salaries of ancillary staff?

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I am also on £15.5K on a fulltime pro rata, ie I only do term time, which is a PIA.

I was on full time which made it easier to do the PAT testing/maintenanceetc, and also made it easier to take any time in lieu without causing any problem.


bearing in mind show weeks can be 5 days 8am-10pm, I end up accruing quite a bit of O/T TOIL.


if the school was seriously looking into it, I would have to strongly urge thm t go for a full time post, not term time only, ther is just not enough time in the day to get all the maintenance done at the same time as all the other duties, ie tech support for classroom, videoing/converting to DVD for exams etc etc.

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