The UK government announced plans last year to introduce further changes to public service pension schemes from April 2019, including a substantial increase to the employer contribution costs, from the current rate of 16.4% to 23.6%.
Following lobbying from NAHT and the other teaching unions, HM Treasury agreed to defer implementation of the new employer rate until September 2019 to help schools and other employers with financial planning and give sufficient time to make the practical changes needed.
Although funding for England was confirmed by the UK government at the start of the year (information on distribution is still to be confirmed following the outcome of a public consultation), confirmation on comparable funding for Wales has not been forthcoming.
As such, NAHT has been campaigning hard to make the case for equivalent provision in Wales, including writing to all Welsh Westminster MPs and all assembly members (AMs), asking them for support in securing comparable funding for Welsh schools.
In the last few weeks, the UK government has finally provided further details about the Barnett consequential for Wales, which has meant that the Welsh Government has now confirmed that they will be providing additional funding to schools in 2019-20 to support the implementation. The approach to funding from 2020-21 onwards will be taken forward as part of the spending review.
NAHT continues to make it clear to the UK government that is unacceptable that the promises regarding funding only extend to 2019/2020. Lack of certainty in relation to ongoing payroll costs will impede schools from budgeting effectively for the long-term as payroll costs make up most of school spending.
Although the Welsh government has not yet outlined the exact mechanisms for distribution it is expected that funding will come to school budgets via local authorities (LAs). NAHT continues to campaign to ensure that the funding reflects the actual cost to a school of having to pay this increased cost at a time when school budgets are already stretched to breaking point.
NAHT recommends members check with their LA that this funding is included in school budget funds for the forthcoming financial year.
If members have concerns about receiving the appropriate funding they should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
First published 25 March 2019