NI school funding increase offset by pension costs

Increased funding for schools in Northern Ireland will be nearly completely offset by the increase in employer contributions to teachers’ pensions.

Schools have seen a 7.4 per cent increase in employer pension contributions since 1 April 2019, while the increase in funding for 2019/20 totals just over 5 per cent per pupil.

The figures were revealed in an annual Department of Education report, Common Funding Scheme, which showed that Northern Irish schools will receive an extra £116 per student compared to 2018/19.

However, the increase would likely not be felt by the students, as the funding will stay at a similar level per pupil as it did in 2018/19, due to the increase in pension contributions.

A spokesperson for the department said: "The department has increased the 2019-20 Aggregated Schools’ Budget by: £7.25m to maintain the age weighted pupil unit (AWPU) cash value at 2018-19 levels; and £54.6m to mitigate the increase in teacher pension costs from 1 April 2019.

“The 2019-20 AWPU cash value has been maintained at the 2018-19 level, when the additional funding to mitigate the increase in teacher pension costs is excluded.”

According to the BBC in November, almost half of schools in Northern Ireland were in a budget deficit in 2018/19.

In July 2019, the government confirmed that the Court of Appeal ruling that some judges and firefighters were unlawfully discriminated against due to the ‘transitional protection’ offered to transfer workers into new pension schemes in 2015 would apply to members of all public service pension schemes.

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