ASCL welcomes funding for teachers' pension scheme

10 April 2019

Responding to the announcement this afternoon by the Department for Education over the teachers’ pension scheme, Julia Harnden, funding specialist at the Association of School and College Leaders, said: 

We welcome the commitment made today by the government to provide in full the funding needed by state schools and colleges in the next academic year to enable them to afford the large increase in employer contributions to the teachers’ pension scheme. Without this funding, the extremely serious financial pressures they are already facing would be made even worse.

We note that for schools, the funding will be allocated on a per pupil basis and we are pleased the government has listened to our representations by providing a supplementary fund to ensure that where this method of distribution does not match the amount of money needed, there will be an extra allocation available. 

It is important to understand that this funding announcement is for one year and that we do not know what will happen over the additional cost of the teachers’ pension scheme in subsequent years. This will be a matter for a spending review planned by the government this year which will set departmental budgets for the next three years.

However, the chancellor has suggested that this spending review will only take place if an EU exit deal is agreed. Schools and colleges are currently unable to accurately plan their long-term budgets, not only in terms of how the teachers’ pension scheme will be funded, but over their income and costs in general. This uncertainty needs to be settled sooner rather than later. 

At a time of huge financial pressures, budget planning based on assumptions alone is yet another intolerable strain. Schools and colleges need improved funding and they need it now.