The DfE has made it clear to local authorities, maintained schools, academies and free schools that they must continue to enrol eligible teachers into the Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS) - this is a statutory requirement.

The employer contribution rate of the Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS) will increase from 16.4% to 23.6% from September 2019 through to 31 March 2023.

This increase has not occurred because benefits for teachers have improved, but because of the TPS quadrennial valuation, which was published in April 2019. Specifically, HM Treasury has reduced the SCAPE discount rate assumption used in the valuation from the figure used for the last valuation, which affects the employer contribution rate.

The impact of the reduction in the discount rate on TPS employers has been known for some time and the NASUWT has pressed the Department for Education (DfE) and the Treasury to fund the employer pension contribution increase in schools and colleges. The DfE has accepted the NASUWT’s representations for the remainder of the current Spending Review period, for 2019/20, and has now published details of how funding will be allocated to school, academy and local authority settings.

The DfE is unable to commit to spending beyond the current Spending Review period until the Government consults on the education budget from 2020 to 2023. This consultation is scheduled for the autumn term. The NASUWT continues to campaign and to lobby the Government for full funding of the pension contributions increase through to 2023.

The DfE’s methodology for the allocation of the Teachers’ Pension Grant is as follows:

  • Local authority maintained schools will receive the grant from 1 September 2019 to 31 March 2020, to the end of the schools’ financial year.
  • Academies will receive the grant from 1 September 2019 to 31 August 2020, to the end of the academies’ financial year.
  • Academies and maintained schools will receive equivalent funding.
  • School and academy funding data held by the DfE is not granular enough to enable schools and academies to be funded for actual costs in every case. The funding will be allocated using a per pupil formula.

The NASUWT raised concerns with the DfE about those schools for which the per pupil grant falls short of the actual increase in pension costs and argued that a contingency fund should be established to support these schools. The DfE is accompanying the teachers’ pay grant with a Supplementary Grant Fund.

Supplementary Grant Fund

Maintained schools will be able to apply to the Supplementary Grant Fund if their grant allocation falls short of their actual pension cost increase between September 2019 and March 2020 by more than 0.05% of their overall budget for this period, and they will be reimbursed for costs above that threshold. In the case of academies, they will be able to apply for the supplementary grant through to 31 August 2020.

To illustrate, for a school with a budget of £5 million a year, the Supplementary Grant limits the amount a school will have to pay towards pension increase costs to £2,500.

The DfE will consider applications to the Supplementary Fund based on schools’ actual pension costs for November 2019. Further information about the Supplementary Fund process is available on the Government's web page Pension grant methodology.

Eligibility for the Teachers’ Pension Grant

Mainstream schools and academy trusts

The DfE will pay the grant based on the number of pupils aged 2 to 19 in:

  • maintained nursery schools
  • primary and secondary maintained schools
  • primary and secondary academies and free schools
  • all through maintained schools and academies
  • 16 to 19 maintained schools
  • 16 to 19 academies

For mainstream institutions with fewer than 100 pupils, the DfE will allocate funding as if they had 100 pupils.

Special settings

The DfE will pay the grant based on the number of places in:

  • maintained special schools
  • special academies and free schools
  • pupil referral units
  • alternative provision academies and free schools
  • hospital schools
  • non-maintained special schools

For special settings with fewer than 40 places, the DfE will allocate funding as if they had 40 places.

Independent settings

For pupils with Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) who are educated in independent settings, the DfE will provide funding to local authorities. This will be based on the number of pupils with EHCPs in their area who are educated in independent settings.

Local authority centrally employed teachers

Local authorities will be funded for their centrally employed teachers. Local authorities will need to apply to the DfE on an individual basis for this funding. Local authorities will be able to apply in the autumn term.

Paying the grant

The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) will pay the funding for maintained schools to local authorities, who will be required to pay it to individual schools at the following rates. Funding for academies will be paid directly to academies by the ESFA.

The ESFA will pay funding to local authorities to distribute to:

  • institutions who provide for children with high needs
  • pupils with EHCPs who are educated in independent settings

The exception to this will be non-maintained special schools. The ESFA will allocate funding directly to non-maintained special schools.

The DfE has applied an Area Cost Adjustment (ACA), which takes into account higher teacher salaries in London, using four rates:

  • inner London;
  • outer London;
  • London fringe;
  • the rest of England. 
Funding for teachers at music education hubs

The DfE will provide music education hubs with funding for their increased pension costs. Music education hubs need to apply directly to the DfE for funding. Detail of how music education hubs can apply will be provided by the DfE in the autumn term.

Detailed, individual school-level allocations

The DfE has published the Teachers’ Pension Employer Contributions Grant (TPECG) allocations for local authorities and details of how the supplementary grant fund will be administered. This is available on the Government's Pension grant allocations and supplementary fund web page. This includes:

  • school level allocations for mainstream schools;
  • local authority level allocations for high needs;
  • details of the Supplementary Fund and how to apply;
  • details of applications for local authority centrally employed teachers and music education hubs.

The DfE will make payments in the autumn term 2019.

Since 2010, when the Westminster Government first embarked on cuts to education funding as part of its austerity programme for public services, the NASUWT has campaigned for increases to school funding.

Since 2011, the NASUWT has taken action against job loss arising from actual or claimed funding difficulties in schools and academy trusts and has successfully defended the jobs of many teachers and other members of the school workforce through successful escalation of the Union’s national action.

On 17 December 2018, the DfE published the National Funding Formulae (NFF) tables for schools, high needs and central school services for 2019/20.

The tables can be downloaded and provide details of final NFF allocations to local authorities and illustrative allocations to schools. The allocations to schools are only illustrative because, for 2019/20, local authorities can allocate money to individual schools in accordance with their local funding formula, rather than the NFF, if they choose. The local authority, or the individual school, should be contacted for exact details of the funding allocation for 2019/20.

Academy trusts should be contacted for details of individual academy and multi-academy trust income for 2019/20.
In the case of questions about school funding allocations, please contact

School balances

As of 31 March 2018, the total unspent balance across all local authority maintained schools was £1.56 billion. The total deficit across the school sector was £233k. The percentage of schools with a surplus was 88.6%, with 10.2% of schools in deficit and 1.2% with a zero balance. The average surplus in each school with a surplus is £135,000, an increase of £4,000 since 31 March 2017.
Table 11 of the DfE LA and School Expenditure 2017 to 2018: Main Tables spreadsheet sets out the surplus and deficit in the schools budget in each local authority and Table 12 provides individual school surpluses and deficits. Table 12 can be easily filtered to isolate data for all of the schools in one local authority, different phases of school and individual schools.

Local authority expenditure on staff

Table 10 sets out the expenditure on staff (teaching staff and support staff) by phase of education for each local authority.

Schools expenditure by sector

Tables 1 sets out schools expenditure, including data on the amounts de-delegated by schools forums for specific purposes (1a enables 2017/18 data to be compared with data from previous years).
In these tables, the total schools budget of £21.8 billion is divided by the number of pupils to give a per capita figure of £5,138. It is illustrative that de-delegated facility time spending per capita is £3 (£12 million in total). This is broadly the same as 2016/17 and makes the cost of trade union facility time approximately 0.06 per cent of total education spending across the school system. This places the claims of those employers who claim that they can’t afford facility time into context.

The average cost of de-delegated supply cover arrangements for sickness absence and other reasons (excluding trade union facility time costs) is £7 per pupil, or 0.14 per cent of average per pupil funding. The NASUWT strongly advises that local authorities offer a service which pools teacher absence costs, so that schools do not have to bear this risk themselves.
For any questions about this data, please contact

The DfE has uprated minimum per pupil funding levels and the funding floor in the NFF, although each local authority formula will determine the impact of this on individual schools.
Local authorities will also continue to be able to move funding from the schools block to the high needs block in 2019/20, up to 0.5 per cent of the schools block following consultation with schools and approval by the Schools Forum and/or the DfE.
A new pupil growth factor will be introduced, which allocates growth funding to local authorities based on actual growth in pupil numbers the previous year.    

Continuation of the ‘soft NFF’ in 2020/21

The DfE has also announced that the soft NFF will continue in 2020/21, which is for one year longer than previously announced. The DfE has not announced whether the ‘soft NFF’ will continue for a further year, in 2021/22.
The NASUWT has made it very clear to the DfE that an extension of local authority de-delegation arrangements should accompany the continuation of local authority funding formulae. The DfE will publish relevant arrangements shortly and the NASUWT will issue further advice at this stage.

The NASUWT’s Response

The NASUWT recognises that the implementation of the NFF marks a significant shift from the vision of the NFF held by Secretaries of State for Education from 2010 to 2015. The continuing role of local authorities in providing and allocating funding to schools is reinforced by the extension of the soft NFF and the role of local authorities in allocating growth funding. The NASUWT has always argued that local authorities have a key strategic role in the delivery of democratically accountable local provision.
The NASUWT has made it clear to the Government that schools, academy trusts and local authorities generally welcome de-delegated trade union facility time arrangements and that the school funding regulations should permit these to continue. 
The NASUWT continues to have concerns about inadequate school funding levels, including in high needs. Many local authorities have prevented a crisis in SEND provision in 2018/19 by moving money from the schools block to the high needs block. The NASUWT will continue to campaign for increases in funding for all school provision and for high needs settings.

Actions for NASUWT Representatives

NASUWT Representatives should continue to press local authorities to:

  • confirm that per pupil funding at individual school level will match the increase in national per pupil funding for 2018/19;
  • ensure that high needs funding is sufficient, reminding local authorities that inadequate high needs provision impacts detrimentally on both mainstream and high needs settings.

Advice for NASUWT Members

If members are concerned about any school funding issue, including funding decisions made by their school, local authority or multi-academy trust, please contact the Union on

The NASUWT will continue to lobby all UK Governments for substantial investment in schools and in the school workforce.