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DfE admits some schools face teacher pay shortfall

Government to consult schools on impact of 43 per cent increase in their contributions to the Teachers' Pension Scheme

money, funding, shortfall, teachers' pay grant, pay rise, nick gibb, angela rayner, pensions, consultation

Government to consult schools on impact of 43 per cent increase in their contributions to the Teachers' Pension Scheme

The government has acknowledged that its teachers’ pay grant will not cover some schools' costs when handing out this year's pay rise.

In July, the Department for Education announced a pay award of between 1.5 per cent and 3.5 per cent for teachers and school leaders.

The DfE introduced a new teachers’ pay grant, worth £508 million, which it said would “fully fund” the pay rise, although it said schools would have to fund the first 1 per cent of the increase from their existing budgets.

However, last month the NAHT headteachers’ union told Tes that the grant had left a “significant minority” of schools facing a “severe” shortfall in meeting the cost of the increase.

The government has used pupil numbers to calculate the level of grant that each school will receive. In response to a parliamentary question from Labour shadow education secretary Angela Rayner, schools minister Nick Gibb said this was “to ensure simplicity and timeliness in getting money to schools”.

Ms Rayner asked how many schools would and would not have the full cost of the pay rise above 1 per cent covered by the grant.

Although he did not provide any numbers, Mr Gibb said: “Not every school has the same staffing structure, and so the grant will not exactly match their costs in every case.”

He said that civil servants had met with “a number of stakeholder groups” to discuss the grant’s methodology, and said that officials “took account of the views expressed in determining its final structure”.

In answer to an earlier question from Ms Rayner, Mr Gibb said the DfE would consult schools about pension changes that threatened what heads branded a “devastating blow” to their budgets.

In September, the government told schools that they would have to increase their contributions to the Teachers’ Pension Scheme by 43 per cent from next year.

This week’s Budget confirmed that the DfE was planning to cover the extra costs this will impose on state schools in 2019-20, but said that the situation in future years would be considered as part of next year’s spending review.

In his written answer, Mr Gibb said the DfE “will shortly be running a public consultation to seek views and understand better the impact of the proposed changes to inform action the department will take”.

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