Teacher pay

Teacher pay: What schools need to know about the 6.5% offer

Your questions answered after DfE accepts STRB reccomendation on pay for 2023-24

Your questions answered after DfE accepts STRB reccomendation on pay for 2023-24

Teachers and school leaders have been offered pay rises of 6.5 per cent from September.

Schools will be expected to fund 3.5 per cent from their own budgets, with the remaining 3 per cent coming from cuts to the Department for Education’s own budget.

The deal has the backing of unions, which have said they will recommend their members accept the deal.

Here’s everything you need to know…

1. What does the pay increase mean for me?

The DfE has confirmed its offer amounts to a 6.5 per cent uplift across all pay scales.

The only exception is for those at the bottom of the main pay scale outside London and in the capital’s “fringe” – they will receive a slightly larger rise so the government can meet its pledge to raise starting salaries to £30,000.

A teacher on the M3 pay point outside London would see their pay rise from £31,750 to £33,814. A teacher on U3 would get an increase from £43,685 to £46,525. Teacher pay is higher in and near the capital.

2. Who is paying, and is it ‘fully funded’?

The DfE will provide schools with extra funding to cover 3 per cent of the rise.

Overall, schools will receive an additional £482.5 million in the 2023-24 financial year and £827.5 million in the 2024-25 financial year. The DfE is also handing out £42.5 million in 2023-24 and £72.5 million in 2024-25 to early years and post-16 institutions.

The department said its “strong expectation is that all schools will use these additional funds for teacher pay as is intended”.

The money takes the form of a grant for schools.

That leaves 3.5 per cent to be funded from schools’ budgets. The DfE believes schools can afford this because of the extra funding announced at last year’s autumn statement

Government and unions are steering clear of saying the deal is “fully funded”, instead describing it as “properly funded”. While schools have been waiting for news of the pay deal, many have budgeted for a 3.5 per cent rise.

Keegan told media on Friday that government will “fund not all of it because there is some within the school budgets that they were expecting and they budgeted for, but quite a big chunk of it”.

3. So where is this extra cash coming from?

DfE said the funding will come from “reprioritising” within its existing budgets, but “frontline services” will be protected from cuts.

This means no cash will be taken from special educational needs funding, school capital, nurseries or 16 to 19 funding.

Speaking to media on Friday, education secretary Gillian Keegan said this would include Treasury allowing government to keep underspends, for example on unspent tutoring. Others programmes impact include skills bootcamps and traineeships, according to reports.

“We’ve gone through every single line, every single budget painstakingly … and we’ve anticipated where we will not meet the forecast and we will move that into school funding,” Keegan said.

4. How much money will my school get?

The grant will be allocated on the basis of the number of pupils in a school, with different per-pupil rates depending on age and other characteristics.

The base funding rates mainstream schools for the 2023 to 2024 financial year are…

  • a basic per-pupil rate of £36 for primary pupils, including pupils in reception
  • a basic per-pupil rate of £50 for key stage 3 pupils
  • a basic per-pupil rate of £57 for key stage 4 pupils
  • a lump sum of £1,345
  • an FSM6 per-pupil rate of £31 per eligible primary pupil
  • an FSM6 per-pupil rate of £45 per eligible secondary pupil

The rate for special and AP schools is £260 per pupil.

5. What about schools that can’t afford pay rises?

Gillian Keegan
Gillian Keegan

DfE assumptions about the affordability of the pay rise are based on averages, and as we have written before, this ignores the financial situation faced by some settings, particularly special schools.

The government has today announced it is setting up a £40 million “hardship fund”.

There are few details about this so far. In a statement education secretary Gillian Keegan said she recognised funding for the deal “will not mean that no school will face financial challenges”.

“I will also extend the support currently available to individual schools facing the most difficult financial circumstances by up to £40m.”

It is not clear what existing support she is referring to.

6. What else has the DfE promised?

Ministers have also announced they will convene a “workload reduction taskforce”.

This will look at “how we can go further to support trust and school leaders to minimise workload for teachers and leaders”. They want to reduce working hours by five hours a week.

DfE will also “plan to reinsert a revised list of administrative tasks that teachers should not be expected to do” into the school teachers’ pay and conditions handbook.

Again, further details have not yet been released.

7. What happens now?

The unions have hailed the “largest ever recommendation from the STRB”.

“A 6.5 per cent increase for teachers and school leaders recognises the vital role that teachers play in our country and ensures that teaching will continue to be an attractive profession.”

They will now put the deal to their members, with a recommendation that they accept the deal, which they say will “allow teachers and school leaders to call off strike action and resume normal relations with government”.

Of course, members of the unions may still vote to reject the offer despite the urging of their leaders.

8. What about funding for future years?

There has been no commitment to extra funding for the deal beyond 2025, even though the rise proposed today will be baked in forever.

The government told Schools Week a decision on what to do would be made in the next Parliament.

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  1. David Waller

    From the text in this article, it appears that there will be no additional funding for maintained nursery schools which will still have to pay the additional salary costs from thiermeagre and already overstretched existing budgets. Or did I not read something correctly?
    If my reading is correct, then more maintained nursery schools will become unviable and some of the most vulnerable children will lose out on the opportunity to get a good educational grounding that has been proved to improve their educational and life chances.