Government launches consultation on school pension funding plans


The Department for Education has launched a consultation on plans to cover the estimated £830 million required to cover a rise in state school pension contributions.

The move follows the announcement in late 2018 that schools will need to contribute a higher percentage – up from 16.48% to 23.6% – into school pensions from September 2019.

Estimates suggest the rise could total £1.1 billion across the education sector, although the consultation will look at how to fully fund the increase for state schools.

The pledge covers the 2019-2020 school year, with further funding not guaranteed pending the outcomes of the government’s spending review.

In addition to covering state funded schools, the DfE proposal will also support non-maintained special schools, independent special schools, music education hubs and teachers that are centrally employed by local authorities.

Private schools, who will face an estimated pension contribution rise of £110 million, are not supported in the DfE proposal.

Despite this, the consultation “recognises these costs will place a pressure” on the sector and has called on private schools to communicate on how the proposed changes will impact them.

Increases in the higher education sector will also not be covered, with the DfE stating that schools and colleges are those deemed to require greater support.

Schools and unions have sought reassurances relating to the proposed pension rises and have voiced concerns over potential financial difficulties if support is not forthcoming.

Schools have until 12 February 2019 to provide feedback on the consultation.