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DfE's Teacher Pay Grant decision adds insult to injury

19th June 2019

The Department for Education has announced a Teacher Pay Grant that will top up the pay of staff teaching in school sixth forms and 16-to-19 academies while excluding staff teaching comparable courses in sixth form colleges and FE colleges. Ministers announced their plans for a teachers’ pay grant in July 2018 and set aside £187m in 2018-19 and £321m in 2019-20 to help schools and academies make pay rises of up to 3%. In late August, Ministers rejected AoC's case for a similar pay grant for colleges. The latest announcement on the methodology for distributing the Teacher Pay Grant adds insult to injury. The note from DfE makes it clear schools and free-standing 16-19 academies will received rates of about £30 per student this year rising to £50 next year for all their students including sixth form ones. The share of the allocation for sixth forms in schools is worth a total of more than £30 million spread across the two years for a school sixth form teacher and is yet another sign of DfE putting schools first over over institutions. The announcement is particularly bizarre because: it splits the group of sixth form colleges between those who have converted to become 16-19 academies (who will receive the Teacher Pay Grant) and those that have not (the majority of sixth form colleges). Whether a student takes A-levels in a sixth form college, tertiary college, school sixth form or 16-19 academy is largely a matter of geography. Two years after it took full responsibility for colleges, DfE's reflexs lead it to prioritise one group of institutions over another purely on the basis of legal character. it puts money into University Technical Colleges, many of which are too small to be viable, while ignoring the needs to the much larger number of students taking technical courses in FE colleges. One principal has asked AoC whether this decision is legal. As we understand matters, DfE has very wide powers under the 2002 Education Act to make funding decisions no matter how bizarre. The issue here is not for government departments to simply comply with the letter of the law but to do what is just for the young people they are responsible for.