Tes is reporting that the Department for Education (DfE) has indicated it will not stump up extra cash to fund a pay rise for college teachers and staff, despite promising to fund part of a pay rise for school teachers.
Last month, the government announced school teachers will get a pay rise of between 1.5 per cent and 3.5 per cent, with the DfE funding a portion of that increase.
In a letter seen by Tes, skills minister Anne Milton said there would be no extra funding available for the further education sector before the next spending review, which is scheduled to take place in 2019.
“Schools and colleges have different workforces and requirements, and the way pay is determined in those sectors is quite separate. We want to make sure that there is an effective funding system for FE which can support sustainable, high-quality education. We are considering this as part of the upcoming spending review, scheduled to take place in 2019.”
Association of Colleges (AoC), chief executive David Hughes said Ms Milton’s response is “very disappointing” and there is “a lot of anger” about the funding pay gap between schools and colleges.
He added: “Since we shared the letter with our members, lots of colleges have been in contact, saying we really need to make more noise and mobilise to make clear how important colleges are when the government clearly doesn’t understand just how important they are.”
“We had some very constructive conversations with the government prior and after sending the letter and it looked to us like there was a good chance that the Department for Education would be in a position to support colleges to make a similar pay award to schools. But now, for whatever reason, that has not happened.”
Unions have submitted a pay claim of 5 per cent for the 2018-19 academic year, and a guaranteed minimum increase of £1,500 for the lowest paid staff, to the AoC. The threat of autumn strike action looms over colleges if the demands are not met.
Pay in FE is set through national negotiations between the AoC and unions representing FE staff: the University and College Union (UCU), NEU, Unison, GMB and Unite. If an agreement is struck, it is then down to individual colleges to decide whether to implement it.
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