This section presents time series data on revenue funding for primary and secondary pupils aged 5-16 in England. The funding covers all state-funded schools: that is, primary and secondary maintained schools and academies; special schools; pupil referral units (including alternative provision academies and free schools); local authority alternative provision; and non-maintained special schools. For mainstream schools, funding covers pupils in reception through to year 11.
Important note on GDP deflators
To calculate real terms school funding figures in this report, we use the GDP deflator, for which the most recent figures were published in January 2021 by HM Treasury (HMT). The GDP deflator is the broadest measure of inflation in the domestic economy. While price inflation experienced by individual schools may be different, the GDP deflator is commonly used to indicate price changes in public sector expenditure and is the most suitable for this national-level time series.
Historic and projected GDP deflator figures are frequently revised, and the figures published in January 2021 include the revisions made to the forecasts in November 2020. The series displays atypical year-on-year movement in the data for 2020-21 and 2021-22 particularly, which has arisen as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the 2019 Spending Round, school funding in 2020-21 increased on a per-pupil basis by more than the level of inflation, based on the GDP deflator data available at the time. This was presented in the previous edition of these school funding statistics. However, the latest revisions to the GDP deflator data include an upward revision in 2020-21. We have used HMT’s GDP deflator series published in January 2021, and continue to show year-on-year real terms changes using the deflator in the underlying tables and data. However, given the atypical movement of the GDP deflator in the individual years for 2020-21 and 2021-22, we have considered real terms changes over that period as a whole, and the commentary in this publication is written from that standpoint. The deflator series indicates like-for-like price increases of 3.79% over the two year-period overall, equivalent to increases of 1.88% in each year.
Coverage of the figures
The following funding elements are included in the figures:
- Dedicated schools grant (including the schools block, most of the high needs block and the central school services block (CSSB); but excluding the early years block and post-16 funding in the high needs block);
- Pre-16 high needs place funding in non-maintained special schools, special and alternative provision free schools;
- Pupil premium;
- Supplementary free school meals grant;
- Teachers' pay grant (TPG);
- Teachers' pension employer contribution grant (TPECG).
The data excludes some smaller elements of revenue funding that schools have been given in recent years for specific additional purposes, such as funding for universal infant free school meals, and the PE and sport premium. This also excludes specific elements of revenue funding relating to schools’ response to COVID-19 outbreak received since March 2020, as this short-term funding would cause inconsistencies in the time series. The data also excludes funding for pupils in early years and sixth forms settings.
This coverage has been chosen both to capture core funding for schools and to ensure the series is as comparable over time as possible, despite changes to the specific grants allocated to schools over the years shown.
The starting point for the time series is 2010-11, as it was the baseline for the 2010 Spending Review, and because comparable statistics for earlier years cannot readily be produced due to the very different grant arrangements that were in place at that time (for more explanation, see Technical information).
This revenue funding is provided to ensure schools have the money needed to deliver their day-to-day functions over the course of each year. In addition to revenue funding, schools also benefit from capital funding. Capital funding provided directly to schools and responsible bodies helps them maintain and improve the condition of their buildings and grounds, while capital funding provided to local authorities helps them fulfil their duty to make sure there are enough school places for children in their local area. This report provides data on revenue funding only and does not include capital. The DfE does however separately publish full details of capital allocations on GOV.UK.
More information on the funding covered by the figures in this section can be found in the Methodology section.
Please note that the figures presented here are not directly comparable with figures presented by HM Treasury in their Public Expenditure Statistical Analysis (PESA) reports. PESA presents data on government spending, whereas the data shown here relates to funding allocated through the above grants specifically.
Data on trends in school spending is also published by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) as part of their annual report on all education spending (see details in the Further Information chapter). The IFS data is not directly comparable with the figures presented here. Their figures for primary and secondary schools cover not just 5-16 year old pupils as presented here, but also include, for example, school sixth forms for part of the series. Their figures also omit TPECG funding. The IFS’s analysis includes the use of school spending data whereas the figures here are based on funding allocations. The latest IFS publication also uses GDP deflator data from July 2020, which rules out simple comparisons of real terms funding for the most recent years. For the years up to 2017-18, their data indicates similar overall high-level trends as presented here.
In this publication, the figures for 2010-11 to 2020-21 are based on final funding allocations that have been issued to schools and local authorities. The figures for 2021-22 are based on the budget that was agreed and announced as part of the 2019 Spending Round and are denoted with dashed lines on the charts in this chapter; these figures will be updated with final allocations data in next year’s edition of this report.
Total funding 2010-11 to 2020-21
The total amount of funding allocated to English schools for 5-16 year olds is closely linked to the number of pupils in attendance, and has grown over the last ten years as the total pupil population has grown. In cash terms, the total funding allocated to schools through the grants listed above was £47.6 billion in 2020-21, an increase of 36.1% compared to the £35.0 billion allocated in 2010-11. These figures include TPECG allocations to school-age children.
Per-pupil funding 2010-11 to 2020-21
On a per-pupil basis the total funding allocated to schools for 5-16 year olds, in cash terms, in 2020-21 was £6,280, a 21.3% increase compared to £5,180 allocated per pupil in 2010-11.
In real terms, funding per pupil was broadly flat between 2010-11 and 2015-16 at just over £6,500 in 2020-21 prices. It then fell by 4.3% over 2016-17 and 2017-18, but subsequently increased by 1.0% over 2018-19 and 2019-20 (in part as a result of the additional funding for increased teacher pension employer contribution costs).
Funding for 2020-21 to 2022-23
Taking account of differences in coverage, these figures are comparable to the three-year school funding settlement announced in the 2019 Spending Round, which covers the financial years 2020-21 to 2022-23. Including additional funding to cover higher employer contribution rates to the teachers’ pension scheme, core schools funding is £47.6 billion in 2020-21, and will reach £49.8 billion in 2021-22 and £52.2 billion in 2022-23, compared with £44.4 billion in 2019-20 (note that the time series figure for 2021-22 is slightly lower than the £49.8 billion announced at Spending Round 2019, as we have excluded TPG and TPECG funding for early years and post-16 provision). This commitment to a three-year increase of £7.1 billion by 2022-23, compared to 2019-20 levels was reaffirmed in the 2020 Spending Round.
In real terms, overall funding in 2021-22 is expected to be 15.9% higher than in 2010-11, and 10.5% higher compared to 2015-16. This funding is expected to increase by 7.6% over 2020-21 and 2021-22.
Real terms per-pupil funding is expected to be 2.6% higher in 2021-22 compared to 2010-11, and 2.1% higher compared to 2015-16. Per-pupil funding is expected to rise by 5.7% over 2020-21 and 2021-22.