In the first of a new investigative series from FE Week, journalist Jess Staufenberg takes a closer look at the state of pay in further education – where staff get on average £9,000 less than their colleagues in schools. Frontline lecturers, HR managers, principals, the sector’s union and membership discuss the issue… as living costs keep climbing.

What does the review discuss?

Some staff are taking on more students to help fund the pay gap, and others are making use of available banding and role descriptions to challenge banding criteria and gain an increase in pay and seniority to access funding earmarked by government. 

Whatever your approach, Smart Apprentices allows you to track your learner progress, apprenticeship success rates and demonstrate, at the click of a button, the allocation of your time and the outcomes you have achieved to help you further these discussions.

The FE Week podcast encourages more teachers and staff to challenge their pay banding, in the hope they can access government FE funds and ensure their utilisation in staff pay.

The funding pots available

As well as the grants pilots, apprenticeship levy schemes and levelling up funding plans aimed at helping providers access further education grants, there are alternative Covid-19 related funds and other 16-19 tuition funding pots designed to help Covid-19 strapped Colleges recover. 

16 to 19 funding: Additional hours in study programmes

As part of the government’s commitment to a long-term education recovery plan, they are investing a further £800m across the next 3 academic years to fund 40 additional learning hours for band 5 and T Level students (and a proportionate increase for those in lower bands) in 16 to 19 education. 

To minimise the administrative burden on institutions, the government have asked end of year reports should be filed when claiming for the funding. Institutions should record delivery of qualification and non-qualification hours in ILR or census returns against each student in receipt of additional hours and a delivery report for the institution overall. Smart Apprentices and our ILR reporting tool, Pro Achieve, from Advanced, can automate these administrative tasks, making claiming funding simple and efficient. 

This, the government hope, ‘alongside other education recovery programmes such as the 16 to 19 tuition fund will help ensure gaps in learning caused by disruption to education can be filled.’

Given the tightening of purse belts seen by education providers, and difficulties experienced in low paid teaching positions, it seems the Government needs to make access to publicised funding easier to learn about and access, where conditions are appropriate. Apprenticeship funding to the tune of £250 million was handed back to the Treasury in 2020-21. The Department for Education said it had to surrender the money as demand for apprenticeships from employers was “lower than expected” partly due to the impact of Covid-19, but this is just one in many cases where funding pots available have been under utilised or improperly managed.

Given funding remains a priority for government, Smart Apprentices is keen to support staff who are challenging their pay banding and help you utilise government schemes, such as the 16-19 funding incentives, to ensure their utilisation in staff funding. Get in touch to learn more about how our tools can assist, or to discuss development ideas that can support you accessing these funds.

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