Exclusive: Schools face ‘severe' pay rise funding shortfall

Heads call for DfE to give exceptional funding to schools whose costs are not covered by the Teachers' Pay Grant

Next year's Spending Review many mean a bit more cash for education, writes Jonathan Simons

A “significant minority” of schools are facing a “severe” shortfall in government funding for this year’s teacher pay rise, headteachers have warned.

The Department for Education today confirmed allocations of the Teachers’ Pay Grant, worth a total of £508 million.

It said the grant will “fully fund” the pay rise it announced in July, apart from the first 1 per cent which it said schools should already have allocated in line with the previous public sector pay cap.

However, the Association of School and College Leaders said the grant had left some of its members with “really big” shortfalls.

Sara Ford, its deputy director of policy, told Tes: “In the vast majority of cases, our members do think they are going to have sufficient funding, or there or thereabouts – it’s not going to be way out.

“However, in a significant minority of cases, there are members who are going to be at severe detriment.

Call for extra funding

“There is a severe funding shortfall for a significant minority – so where it doesn’t meet need, it doesn’t meet it by a long way.”

The pay award, announced at the end of the summer term, gave a 3.5 per cent rise to teachers on the main pay scale.

However, more senior teachers will receive a real-terms pay cut, with those on the upper ranges awarded a 2 per cent increase, and leaders awarded 1.5 per cent. Both increases are below the Retail Price Index rate of inflation, which stands at 2.9 per cent.

Ms Ford said that the ASCL, in its research, had been unable to identify why the DfE grant did not cover some schools’ costs, adding: “It seems a bit random.

“We have not been able to unpick what it is about them that had made the funding not work, but that might be because we just did not have a big enough sample size.”

She said the union was warning the DfE that “there is going to be a significant shortfall and that is going to be really problematic”.

She added: “We will continue to make representations to say, ‘Look, there has to be something for those who have genuinely got a really big percentage shortfall,' for them to be able to make an exceptional case for additional funding. But at the moment the department does not have anything in place.”

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “There are no great schools without great teachers.

"We have today set out how the £508 million Teachers’ Pay Grant will be allocated to schools and local authorities so that they can provide a pay rise for thousands of hard-working teachers.

“Allocating the funding on a per-pupil basis is the simplest, most transparent and timeliest way to get the money to schools.

"As we announced in July, we are focusing funding on classroom teachers that could increase their salary by between £803 and £1,366.”

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