Best school payroll software – Top 4 education payroll solutions compared

Selecting the right payroll software for your school is a crucial decision that impacts not only the financial management of the institution but also the satisfaction of its staff. Schools have unique needs that differ significantly from other businesses, such as managing term-time contracts, dealing with various types of leave, and incorporating specific pay scales. This article compares leading payroll solutions tailored for the educational sector, helping UK schools make an informed choice.


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Understanding the needs of schools

Before diving into comparisons, it’s important to understand the specific requirements of payroll systems in educational settings. Schools need software that can handle fluctuating hours, term-time only contracts, and maternity or sickness leave, while also being compliant with UK tax laws. Additionally, integration with other HR and financial systems is essential for a seamless administrative experience.

Features to look for when choosing school payroll software

When choosing a school payroll solution, potential customers should consider a comprehensive set of features that cater specifically to the unique needs of educational institutions. Here’s a list of critical features to look for:

  • Education-Specific Payroll Processing: Ability to handle diverse and complex payroll requirements unique to schools, such as term-time contracts, varying pay scales, and different types of staff (e.g., teaching, administrative, and support staff).
  • Compliance with UK Tax Legislation: Ensures that the payroll system is up-to-date with the latest HMRC regulations and guidelines, including PAYE, National Insurance contributions, and pension auto-enrolment.
  • Data Security and Privacy: Advanced security measures to protect sensitive employee data, in compliance with GDPR and other relevant data protection laws.
  • Integration Capabilities: Seamless integration with existing financial, HR, and time-tracking systems to ensure efficient data flow and reduce manual input errors.
  • Flexible Payment Schedules: Support for various payment schedules, including monthly, weekly, and term-time payments, to accommodate the diverse contract types within the education sector.
  • Leave and Absence Management: Features to manage and track different types of leave, including sick leave, maternity/paternity leave, and holiday entitlements, with the ability to adjust payroll accordingly.
  • Customisable Pay Slips: Ability to customise pay slips with school branding and provide digital access for employees, enhancing the transparency and accessibility of payroll information.
  • Reporting and Analytics: Comprehensive reporting tools that offer insights into payroll expenses, staff cost analysis, and budget forecasting, assisting schools in financial planning and management.
  • User-Friendly Interface: An intuitive and easy-to-navigate interface that minimises the training time and allows for efficient payroll management.
  • Scalability: The system should be able to grow with the institution, accommodating increases in staff numbers or changes in payroll complexity without significant upgrades or system changes.
  • Customer Support and Training: Access to robust customer support and training resources to ensure that school staff can effectively use the payroll system and troubleshoot any issues that arise.
  • Pension Scheme Management: Support for managing teacher pension schemes and other employee pension plans, including automatic enrolment and contribution calculations.
  • Real-Time Information (RTI) Submission: Capability to automatically submit payroll data to HMRC in real-time, ensuring compliance and up-to-date employee tax records.

Considering these features will help ensure that the selected payroll solution not only meets the specific needs of a school but also provides a secure, compliant, and efficient payroll process.

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With those criteria in mind, here are our top four picks for schools seeking a new and powerful payroll solution.

Best payroll software for schools

Feature / SolutionBrightPayIRIS Education Payroll SolutionsSage Payroll for EducationMoorepay
Education-Specific FeaturesYes, including term-time contract supportTailored to complex school payroll needsDesigned for unique education sector needsBespoke solutions for schools
Compliance with UK Tax LegislationUp-to-date with HMRC regulationsFully compliantEnsures compliance with tax lawsAdheres to current legislation
Data Security and PrivacyHigh-level security and GDPR compliantStrong data protection measuresAdvanced security protocolsRobust data security and privacy
Integration CapabilitiesIntegrates with accounting softwareSeamless HR and financial system integrationBroad integration optionsEfficient integration with HR and financial systems
Flexible Payment SchedulesSupports various payment schedulesCustomisable payment schedulesFlexible payment options for staffAdaptable payment schedules
Leave and Absence ManagementComprehensive leave managementDetailed tracking and managementEfficient leave processingAdvanced management features
Customisable Pay SlipsYes, with digital accessCustomisable and accessible onlineBrandable and accessible pay slipsCustomisable digital pay slips
Reporting and AnalyticsDetailed reporting toolsComprehensive analytics and reportingRobust reporting capabilitiesIn-depth reporting and insights
User-Friendly InterfaceIntuitive designUser-friendlyEasy to navigateSimple and accessible interface
ScalabilityEasily scalable to school’s growthScales with institution needsDesigned to accommodate growthScalable solutions for any size
Customer Support and TrainingExtensive support and resourcesDedicated support and trainingComprehensive support servicesRobust training and customer support
Pension Scheme ManagementSupports teacher pensions and auto-enrolmentComprehensive pension managementPension scheme handlingEfficient pension scheme administration
RTI SubmissionAutomated RTI submissions to HMRCReal-time submissions ensuredSupports RTI submissionsAutomated compliance with RTI
Best school payroll software comparison

1. BrightPay

BrightPay stands out for its user-friendly interface and comprehensive features tailored for the education sector. It offers flexibility in managing different types of contracts and integrates smoothly with various accounting software. BrightPay also emphasises security and compliance, ensuring schools meet their legal obligations effortlessly.


Number of EmployeesCost Per Tax Year (£)
Up to 379
Up to 10139
Up to 25209
BrightPay pricing for schools
  • Subscription-based pricing: Often based on the number of employees and pay periods.
  • Annual License Fee: Possible annual license fees depending on the version or tier of the service.
  • Additional fees: For updates, support, or advanced features.

Further information

Read our BrightPay review or visit the website.

2. IRIS Education Payroll Solutions

IRIS offers a specialised solution for educational institutions, focusing on compliance and integration capabilities. Its strength lies in handling complex payroll requirements common in schools, such as term-time payments and maternity leave. IRIS also provides excellent customer support and training, making it a reliable choice for schools of all sizes.

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Software OptionEmployee LimitMonthly CostFeaturesBest For
IRIS Payroll BasicsUp to 10FreeBasic PayrollSmall schools
KashFlow Payroll CoreUp to 5£8.12Core PayrollSmall schools
KashFlow Payroll Plus AccountingUp to 5£29Core Payroll + AccountingSmall schools with accounting needs
IRIS Business PayrollUp to 100£99Advanced PayrollMedium to large schools
IRIS Cascade HRiCustomCustomComprehensive HR + PayrollLarge schools
IRIS PayRiteCustomCustomAdvanced PayrollLarge schools
Staffology HR and PayrollCustomCustomCloud-based HR + PayrollVarious school sizes
IRIS payroll prices for schools
  • Custom Quote: Pricing typically requires a custom quote, reflecting the school’s size, complexity, and specific needs.
  • Module-based pricing: Additional costs for extra modules or features.
  • Support and Maintenance: Yearly fees for customer support and software updates.

Further information

Read our IRIS Payroll review or visit the website.

3. Sage Payroll for Education

Sage is a well-known name in the payroll software industry, and its education-focused solution does not disappoint. It is particularly adept at managing the unique pay scales and employment terms found in the education sector. Sage Payroll for Education also offers robust reporting tools, helping schools make informed decisions about their payroll and finances.


Number of EmployeesMonthly Price (£)
Sage payroll prices for schools
  • Tiered Pricing: Based on features and the number of employees.
  • Monthly or Annual Subscriptions: Options for monthly or annual payments, with discounts often available for longer commitments.
  • Additional Costs: For premium support, training, or additional modules.

Further information

Read our Sage Payroll review or visit the website.

4. Moorepay

Moorepay is a leading payroll and HR solution provider that offers a tailored approach to meet the specific needs of the education sector. It provides a comprehensive payroll solution that is capable of handling the nuanced aspects of school payroll, including term-time pay and various types of leave. Moorepay’s system is designed to ensure compliance with UK tax laws and integrates well with other HR and financial systems, offering a seamless experience for school administrators. The company prides itself on offering robust support and training, ensuring that schools can manage their payroll efficiently and with confidence.


Service TypeCost ItemEstimated Cost RangeRemarks
SaaS Payroll SoftwareSubscription Fee£50 – £200+ per monthVaries based on the number of employees and features
Set-Up Fee£150 – £300 one-timeInitial set-up
Additional Modules£20 – £50 per monthOptional HR and time-tracking add-ons
Outsourced ServicesPer Employee, Per Month (PEPM)£5 – £8 per employeePrice increases based on services
Additional Services£100 – £300 annuallyCustom reports, end-of-year processing
Implementation Costs£500 – £1,000 one-timeOne-off fee for transitioning
Bundled ServicesCombined Monthly Fee£100 – £500+ per monthIncludes both payroll and HR services
Moorepay payroll prices for schools
  • Customised Pricing: Moorepay typically offers tailored pricing that reflects the specific needs and scale of an educational institution.
  • Per Employee or Per Payslip Pricing: Charges may be structured around the number of employees or payslips processed each month.
  • Subscription Options: There may be options for monthly or annual billing, with potential savings for commitments made on an annual basis.
  • Setup and Implementation Fees: Initial fees for setting up the system and configuring it to meet the school’s specific payroll requirements.
  • Additional Services: Prices for added features such as HR management modules, custom reporting, or integration with existing systems.

Further information

Read our Moorepay review or visit the website.

Conclusion – Choosing the best school payroll software

Choosing the right payroll software is critical for a school to manage their finances efficiently and keep their staff happy.

Each of the solutions discussed offers a range of features designed to meet the unique needs of the education sector.

However, the best choice depends on the specific requirements, size, and budget of your school. It’s recommended to take advantage of free trials and demos offered by these providers to find the software that best fits your institution’s needs.

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