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Council welcomes extra £3m for teachers' pensions

Schools across Swansea will receive more than £3m in extra funding to meet the additional costs associated with pension changes.

Guildhall

As part of its budget that was approved last month, Swansea Council increased the amount of money for its schools by £3.7m to ensure teachers' pay awards and other pressures were fully covered.

The council, along with many headteachers and governing bodies in Swansea, has also been lobbying the UK Government for extra money for education including funding the additional costs associated with pension changes that were introduced by Westminster.

Without this money there had been warnings that up to 145 jobs were at risk at schools in Swansea.

Now the Welsh Government has confirmed that an additional £42.1m is being provided in Wales to cover the pressure of changes to pensions of teachers at maintained schools for one year.

Just over £3m of this should be for schools in Swansea and Swansea Council has promised it will be passed on in full to its schools once the specific sum is confirmed by Welsh Government.

Cllr Jennifer Raynor, Swansea Council's Cabinet Member for Education Improvement, Learning and Skills, said: "Confirmation that this additional funding will be made available for 2019/20 comes as a huge relief and I am sure it will be welcomed by our schools across Swansea.

"All local authorities in Wales are having to make difficult decisions due to the continued austerity agenda. In Swansea we have prioritised education and social services and although the council has promised to cover increases in teachers' pay we were deeply concerned about the pensions gap.

"The Welsh Government announcement provides stability for the coming year and I would like to thank our ministerial colleagues for working closely with us on this.

"I would also like to thank the headteachers and governing bodies who joined myself and Swansea Council Leader Rob Stewart in lobbying for this additional funding that will be passed on to schools in full."

Cllr Raynor has urged the UK Government to commit to funding pension increases in full in coming years to avoid any repeat of the uncertainty of this year.

She added: "The performance of the vast majority of our schools in Swansea is excellent as can be demonstrated by exam results, Estyn school inspection reports and the Welsh Government's categorisation system.

"They are operating in challenging financial circumstances and the uncertainty of recent months has added to the pressures they have faced.

"I would again pass on my thanks to all teachers and school staff for the work they do and assure them that education will remain a top priority for Swansea Council.

"As part of our budget we have also included a £149.7m capital programme to improve school infrastructure over the coming years including new builds for some schools and upgrades for others, which we are jointly funding with the Welsh Government."

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