Evaluation of the government grant for the Teachers' Pay Boost. Final report.
The Teachers' Pay Boost is a targeted government grant introduced in 2016 to raise the pay of particularly qualified teachers.
The purpose of this initiative is to increase the attractiveness of the teaching profession and, in the longer term, to contribute to improving teaching quality and learning outcomes in school education. The Government has commissioned Statskontoret to evaluate the Teachers' Pay Boost. This is the final report on that commission.
In this final report we focus on the effects that the initiative has contributed to for school organisers, teachers and pupils. We also analyse potential consequences of transferring this government grant to the general government grant to municipalities.
The Teachers' Pay Boost has been a well-used government grant.
Statskontoret’s evaluation shows that more than half of all registered teachers have shared in the initiative. We see that the Teachers' Pay Boost has reached out to all types of school organisers. We also see that school organisers have distributed the initiative to the teachers they consider are most qualified. Our evaluation shows that it is generally the same teachers who share in the initiative term after term and that it is unusual for organisers to redistribute the Teachers' Pay Boost. The Education Act requires municipalities to take account of pupils’ needs and circumstances when they distribute resources to school education. Our evaluation shows that the municipalities have not distributed the government grant on the basis of such a perspective. But we can see that when redistributing the Teachers' Pay Boost municipalities have taken slightly more account than before of pupils’ needs and circumstances.
A higher pay level for all teachers
The Teachers' Pay Boost has contributed to a higher pay level for all teachers. More than 60 000 teachers have received a pay increase over and above their regular pay. For three-quarters of these teachers this is a long-term pay increase since they have a permanent increase in their pay. A permanent increase in pay is one of the Government’s objectives for the initiative. But our evaluation also shows that the initiative has contributed to higher pay for all teachers as a group. This means that teachers who have not shared in the initiative have also benefited from it.
We can also note that teachers who have shared in the initiative have had slightly poorer pay growth than other teachers, if we exclude the government grant. This means that organisers have not followed the Government’s intentions that the initiative would be distributed over and above regular pay reviews. Our assessment is therefore that, in practice, the initiative has affected pay formation for teachers. This is contrary to the Government’s purpose for the initiative.
The Teachers' Pay Boost has contributed to existing teachers viewing the profession as more attractive.
Increasing the pay of particularly skilled teachers is intended to increase the attractiveness of the teaching profession. More teachers will then stay in the profession while more people will also choose to enter the profession. Our evaluation shows that, as a whole, the initiative has not contributed to increasing the attractiveness of the profession. But we can see that teachers who have shared in the initiative choose to leave the profession to a lesser extent than other teachers. We interpret this as a sign that those who have shared in the initiative see the profession as more attractive. In this way, the initiative has contributed to creating better conditions for retaining skilled teachers in the profession.
Nor does our evaluation show that more individuals choose to train as teachers or that more trainees complete their training. In our view, more measures are probably needed to raise the status and attractiveness of the teaching profession. Pay is just one of several components of importance for attracting teachers to, and retaining them in, school education.
The initiative has not contributed to teaching of better quality or to increased learning outcomes.
Statskontoret’s evaluation shows no signs that the Teachers' Pay Boost has contributed to improving teaching quality and learning outcomes in school education. This means that the initiative has not been of direct importance for pupils. Nor, in our assessment, has the design of the initiative created conditions for being able to contribute fully to achieving such effects in the longer term either. In order to change teaching quality and learning outcomes, organisers need to use the initiative in such a way that it contributes to the development of their services, for instance through the requirements and expectations that organisers apply to teachers who have shared in the initiative. Our evaluation shows that organisers have handled the Teachers' Pay Boost as a pay initiative and not in order to develop their services.
The Teachers' Pay Boost can be distributed via the general government grant
The Government’s ambition is that when the initiative has been implemented and is operating as intended, it will be distributed via the general government grant to municipalities. Statskontoret’s assessment is that the Government can go ahead and change the design of the government grant.
Our analysis shows that a change in the design of the government grant would result in a redistribution of funding between municipalities. In the initial years there would be a redistribution that would result in municipalities with a high proportion of children receiving a smaller share of the government grant; this would benefit municipalities with an older population. In the longer term a change of design would probably result in a redistribution corresponding roughly to the distribution of the targeted grant. This is a consequence of the design of the municipal equalisation system. Our assessment is that the municipalities will probably be able to handle the financial consequences resulting from a change of design.
We make the assessment that the intention behind the initiative is likely to be maintained since a large share of organisers have distributed the initiative to teachers as a permanent pay increase. In contrast, the consequences for teachers who have received the Teachers' Pay Boost as a time-limited pay supplement are more uncertain. These teachers work to a higher extent for private organisers.
A change would probably result in less predictability for private school organisers. This is because it is not possible to say with certainty how municipalities will distribute the funding in services and whether the school allowance will be raised to be in line with the targeted government grant.