The upper pay spine are performance related pay rises after the pay rises for experience have completed. The policy for how this progression occurs is dependent on the school. However, as a rule Upper Pay Spine 1 tends to be done through application or through recommendation by a manager. Upper Pay Spine 2 generally tends to be a little more automatic and Upper Pay Spine 3 is at the discretion of the head teacher. Remember these are generalities and this may be different at your school.
Preparation for UPS 1, in particular, is important. You should presume that you need to prove the level of competency required for the next level of the profession. This next level requires that you make a substantial and sustained contribution to the work of the school. This is obviously highly subjective. Some schools have laid out more objective markers with regards results, extra-curricular activities, contribution to schemes/ meetings outside the classroom, work with a tutor group, etc. However, whatever the policy, you should presume that you are responsible for gathering evidence for pay promotion.
Your evidence folder should help in two ways. One, it should help your manager make the recommendation for progression through the threshold. Second, if your progression is being challenged then it gives you a base of evidence through which you can appeal the decision. You should keep at least a year of evidence within the folder, including: certificates from courses, analysed results, examples of marking and students’ work, details of extra-curricular activities, examples of letters sent home to parents, copies of letters received from parents complimenting you on your work, logs of contact made on behalf of your tutor group, etc.
Upper Spine 3 requires the teacher take on whole school responsibility. Many head teachers are taking the demands of UPS 3 a lot more seriously and making it known that it is not just another experience pay progression. Some schools limit the number of people capable of progressing to UPS 3 and some require those that progress to take on a leadership responsibility, such as training new teachers or mentoring NQTs. Therefore, willingness to step up and take on this additional responsibility is something that should be evidenced in the two years between UPS 2 and UPS 3.
The most important piece of advice for gaining pay progression is making it difficult for the leadership team to say no. Therefore, going above and beyond within your day to day performance is a great way of guaranteeing UPS and promotions in general.