While teachers working in all sectors of the education system across the United Kingdom face many similar challenges and concerns, the NASUWT recognises that sixth-form college teachers can face particular issues and challenges.
In the context of a funding regime that is being cut year after year, area reviews looking at sixth-form college sustainability and academisation, the NASUWT will continue to inform members through its regular bulletins and regional and national briefings.
Tackling the workload of teachers working in sixth-form colleges and ensuring that their professional status is protected and enhanced remain key priorities for the NASUWT.
Teachers’ Pension Employer Contribution Grant (TPECG) in Sixth Form and FE Colleges (England only)
The DfE has made it clear to further education colleges, Sixth Form Colleges and Post-92 universities 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 Sixth Form and other FE 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 Sixth Form and other FE 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.
Eligibility for the Teachers’ Pension Grant
FE Colleges and other Publicly Funded Training Institutions
The DfE will pay the grant to:
- Further Education Colleges
- Sixth Form Colleges
- Designated Institutions (including the new designated institutions that form part of HE provider group structures)
- Special Post-16 settings
- Adult and Community Learning Providers
- 16 to 19 academies
For colleges that are funded on an Academic Year basis, the grant will be paid from 1 September 2019 through to 31 August 2020.
Details of how individual colleges apply for the Teachers’ Pension Grant will be published by the DfE in due course.
Outcome of Sixth-form Colleges Area-based Reviews
The Government’s Area Based Reviews of the Sixth Form College sector are summarised here, separated into reports for each region.