Teachers’ Pay and School Budgets

Oral Answers to Questions — Education – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 10th September 2018.

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Photo of Ruth Cadbury Ruth Cadbury Labour, Brentford and Isleworth 12:00 am, 10th September 2018

What assessment he has made of the effect of the teachers’ recent pay award on the financial sustainability of school budgets.

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

We are fully funding the teachers’ pay award by providing a teachers’ pay grant worth £187 million in 2018-19 and £321 million in 2019-20. This funding will be over and above the core funding that schools receive through the national funding formula.

Photo of Ruth Cadbury Ruth Cadbury Labour, Brentford and Isleworth

That is not the experience of heads and governors in Hounslow. The pay award is not fully funded. Schools are expected to pick up the tab for the first 1% of the cost of the pay award, so they are having to make further cuts to school provision and staffing. Also, schools have not been told how the pay award will be funded after 2020. Will the Minister come to meet heads and governors in Hounslow to explain how he thinks they will be able to achieve this?

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

The pay award is being funded over and above the 1% for which schools have already budgeted. Incidentally, the 3.5% pay award for teachers on the main pay scale takes the pay range to between £29,600 and £40,300. The 2% pay rise will be funded over and above the 1%, and the 1.5% pay rise for headteachers will also be funded over and above the 1% that schools have already awarded. Pay scales for headteachers, for example, now range up to £111,000 a year for some heads, and £118,000 for headteachers in inner London, although I accept that those figures are not as high as the pay of the general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, which is over £200,000.

Photo of Philip Davies Philip Davies Conservative, Shipley

I have raised school budgets in my constituency, about which I am concerned, with the Minister on a number of occasions, and I thank him for spending the time to look into them. Although school budgets are increasing per pupil by a minuscule amount, it is clear that costs, of which teachers’ pay is only one, are going up much faster than the per pupil increase. What can he do to make sure that school budgets, particularly in my Shipley constituency, rise at a rate that ensures they can cover the increased costs they are expected to incur?

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

We are spending record amounts on school funding—£42.4 billion this year—but we accept that schools are facing some cost pressures. We are helping schools with their resource management, and we are providing national buying schemes so that they can buy things such as energy and computers more cheaply.

We are also introducing a free teacher vacancy scheme, which is being rolled out later this year—it has already been piloted in Cambridgeshire and the north-east—and which will save schools £78 million a year.

Photo of Jonathan Edwards Jonathan Edwards Shadow PC Spokesperson (Treasury), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Transport), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Foreign Intervention), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

Is the Minister aware that the Treasury has not funded the teachers’ pay increase for Welsh teachers, and therefore that, if there is to be a pay increase for teachers in Wales, it will mean redundancies, a reduction in provision for pupils with special educational needs and a reduction in school investment budgets?

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

We have managed to fund the pay award from within the Department for Education’s own budget, and we expect the Welsh Government to be able to do the same.