DfE’s teacher grant will not cover complete pay rise costs

Written by: Pete Henshaw | Published:
Image: Adobe Stock

There was frustration this week after it was revealed that the government’s teachers’ pay grant will not cover the full costs of this year’s pay rises.

The grant was announced by the Department for Education (DfE) alongside news of a 3.5 per cent pay rise for the main pay range, two per cent for the upper pay range and 1.5 per cent for the leadership pay range.

The grant will be funded with £187 million in 2018/19 and £321 million in 2019/20 and the first grant payments will be made later this term.

However, it was revealed in a DfE document published this week that the grant will not cover the first one per cent of any pay rises. Ministers argue that schools have already budgeted for a one per cent rise this year and so this need not be funded by the grant.

Furthermore, the grant is to be allocated based on pupil rather than teacher numbers – which education unions say will mean some schools will not get the funding they need to cover the additional salary costs.

Under the government’s calculations, in 2018/19 (covering the seven-month period from September to March) primary schools in England will receive £16.40 per-pupil, while London Fringe will receive £16,90, Outer London £18.05, and Inner London £19.51. In 2019/20, these rates will rise to £28.29, £29.14, £31.13, and £33.65 respectively.

In 2018/19, secondary schools will receive £26,54 per-pupil, while London Fringe will get £27.34, Outer London £29.20, and Inner London £31.57. In 2019/20, these figures will rise to £45.56, £46.94, £50.15, and £54.20 respectively.

It comes amid existing anger over the DfE’s refusal to implement in full the recommendations of the School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB) – the first time this has happened for 27 years.

In July, the STRB recommended that all pay and allowance ranges for teachers and school leaders should be increased by 3.5 per cent. However, the DfE is only giving teachers on the main pay range this rise.

The DfE says that its pay rise means that classroom teachers will see the biggest benefit with starting salaries increasing between £803 and £1,004, and those at the top of the main pay range will be eligible for increases between £1,184 and £1,366.

However, education unions are disappointed. Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said: “For the first time in 27 years the government has ignored the advice of the STRB – and neither implemented their recommendations in full, nor funded them.

“The government is only funding increases above one per cent, claiming schools will have already budgeted for that amount. Schools will therefore have to make yet more cuts elsewhere in the budget. To make matters worse, the grants to schools will be based on pupil numbers so many schools will not get even this. The government should base the grants on teacher numbers and require schools to use the money for pay increases.”

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, added: “Teachers and school leaders have a legitimate expectation to receive the full uplift. We urge governing boards to ensure that the pay uplift is applied to all staff at all pay points.

“While this year’s pay award is an improvement on pay awards in recent years, teachers on the upper and leadership pay ranges are still only in line to receive two per cent and 1.5 per cent respectively, which, as the rate of inflation is 2.5 per cent, still represents a pay cut. This follows many years of pay freezes and pay caps, and will further demoralise our most experienced teachers and leaders, thereby further damaging retention.”

  • School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document 2018 (England and Wales), DfE, September 2018: http://bit.ly/2MDOKWv

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