Government to fund higher school pension contributions in 2019-2020
The Department for Education has pledged to ‘fully fund’ the cost of higher school pension contributions for the next school year.
Estimated to be in the region of £830 million, the move to cover the costs for 2019-2020 represents a welcome boost for school leaders and head teachers.
The outcome follows a consultation by the Department on changes to the teacher pension scheme, where schools were warned their contribution would rocket by around 40%.
However, schools must wait to discover whether they will receive funding in future years, as that will be decided in the next spending review.
Budgets for state-funded schools and colleges will rise next year to reflect the increased pension contribution and will be calculated on a per-pupil basis.
Education secretary Damian Hinds has said the move will allow schools to “focus their resources on providing the best education,” and added that the scheme is “one of the most generous in the country”.
The Department for Education has also promised additional funding for schools experiencing a shortfall of more than 0.05% in their grant when compared to the actual costs of pension increase contributions.
Alongside mainstream schools, the latest announcement also covers independent special schools who teach children with education needs, health and care plans, and non-maintained special schools.
Teachers that are centrally employed by local authorities and those in music education hubs will also see the rising costs of pension contributions covered by the government.
Julia Harnden, the funding specialist at The Association of College Leaders, welcomed the government announcement but voiced concerns over funding in future years.
She said that uncertainty around pension costs and school budgets in general “needs to be settled sooner rather than later” and called for schools to get an improved funding package.
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