This section provides more detailed information about the funding data presented in this report.
School revenue funding 2010-11 to 2021-22
The time series of school revenue funding relates to pupils aged 5-16, and covers the financial years 2010-11 to 2021-22. For mainstream schools, this means pupils in reception through to year 11. The series has been designed to capture core funding for schools and be as consistent and comparable as possible across these years, given that the funding system has changed significantly during that time. Indicative funding levels are presented for 2021-22, reflecting the 2019 Spending Round settlement.
The time series is largely based on funding allocations that have been published previously by the DfE. There are some instances where, because of changes to the grant arrangements over the period shown, data have been imputed to ensure consistency across the years.
In the years up to 2010-11, education funding was provided through a range of grants: a smaller dedicated schools grant (DSG), the school standards grant, the schools development grant and others. There have been many changes since then. These earlier grants were incorporated into an expanded DSG in 2011-12, which was split into separate “blocks” for early years (EYB), high needs (HNB) and schools (SB) in 2013-14. Since then, new types of funding have been introduced, such as the pupil premium. More recently, in 2018-19, with the introduction of national funding formulae (NFF) for schools’ and high needs funding, a central school services block (CSSB) was created. The HNB expanded in 2013-14 and 2017-18 with the inclusion of funding for post-16 students.
To reflect core funding and to ensure consistency across years, the figures presented in this report focus on funding for 5-16 year old pupils. This means that we are not including all of the DSG in the figures: for example we exclude the EYB and the post-16 elements of the HNB.
Comparison with the core schools’ budget
The DfE has previously published figures for the ‘core’ or ‘protected’ schools’ budget which are based on a slightly different definition than the time series published here. While the grants that make up the core schools budget have changed slightly over the past decade, this series is based on a set of grants that are aligned as closely as possible with the scope of the core schools budget as at the 2019 Spending Round, but still ensure comparability over time. As such, the time series includes a small amount of funding that local authorities receive to carry out duties they retained responsibility for after the end of the education services grant (ESG). This funding is now part of the CSSB but has never been part of the core budget.
Dedicated schools grant
The DSG was split into three blocks (for early years, schools and high needs) in 2013-14. Since the time series focuses on funding for pupils aged 5-16, the data here omits the early years block. The published DSG allocations for 2013-14 showed how the grant was notionally split into the blocks in 2012-13 on a comparable basis, and that notional split of the grant has been used in this analysis. For 2011-12, we have estimated the amount of early years funding in those years by assuming that it represented the same proportion of the total DSG funding, 5.7%, as in the notional split in 2012-13. To omit the early years funding in 2010-11 from overall DSG allocations, we now take into account the fewer hours of entitlement to free childcare for 3 and 4 year olds before September 2010. This adjustment has raised 5-16 funding by c.£40 million (0.1%) in 2010-11 compared to our January 2020 analysis, with a subsequent small reduction in funding growth in later years when compared to that year.
Since 2018-19, the DSG has included the central school services block: this is mainly comprised of funding that was previously in the schools block, but also includes education services grant retained duties funding. The time series data therefore includes the retained duties funding that was allocated separately to the DSG in 2016-17 and earlier years to ensure consistency across the full period shown.
The high needs block includes funding for all young people aged up to 25 years old. Most post-16 high needs funding was added to the DSG over 2013-14 and 2014-15, which was broadened to include place funding for further education and independent learning providers in 2017-18 and for special free schools in 2019-20. Since the focus of the data is on pupils in reception to year 11 (and those of equivalent ages in institutions without year groups), we have removed the post-16 elements of the funding in the time series. For 2013-14 and 2014-15, the total amount of post-16 high needs funding was shown separately in the published allocations. From 2015-16 onwards, place funding continued to be shown separately, but we have imputed the amount of top-up funding for post-16 students that is contained within the block. This was done by looking at the amount of top-up funding for post-16 students in 2014-15, and then assuming this funding grew at the same rate as place funding in subsequent years.
Since 2013-14, funding for monitoring and quality assurance of induction of newly qualified teachers has been included in the DSG at a fixed rate of £10 million per year. The figures include a similar amount of funding in the previous years of the series, which was paid out of local authority budgets.
Schools block funding for mainstream academies (including free schools) is included in the DSG that the DfE gives to each local authority to fund its schools. The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) funds academies and recoups their share of the DSG from each local authority. However, prior to 2015-16, some academies were “non-recoupment” academies. This means funding for these academies was not given to the local authority in its DSG allocations and therefore ESFA did not recoup that funding.
The amount of funding included in the DSG for former non-recoupment academies was included in published allocations from 2015-16. The funding totals in 2013-14 and 2014-15 were calculated from the published individual school budgets for the non-recoupment academies funded in 2015-16, where these schools were open in earlier years. For 2010-11 to 2012-13 figures, the 2013-14 funding has been scaled by the general growth in the number of pupils, again only for those non-recoupment academies that were open in the earliest years.
Pre-16 high needs funding that is not part of the high needs block
A substantial part of the place funding that is allocated to support pupils in special free schools and AP free schools (worth about £67 million in total in 2020-21) has not been part of the high needs block of the DSG. We have estimated the amount of this non-DSG funding that supports pupils aged 5-16 and included this in the time series. This has mostly been done using published high needs place allocations, although in earlier years of the series place numbers have been estimated. A £7 million grant that was paid directly to non-maintained special schools prior to 2013-14 has been included for consistency as that funding was added to the DSG in 2014-15.
Pupil premium funding (which is worth a total of £2.4 billion in 2020-21) has been published in every year since its introduction in 2011-12 and is included in the data.
Supplementary free school meals (FSM) funding
Supplementary FSM funding was introduced in 2018-19, with published allocations of £59m, which increased to £78m in 2019-20. Allocations for 2020-21 have not yet been published, but for the purposes of this report we have used the grant’s budget for the year (£116 million).
Teachers’ pay grant and teachers’ pension employer contribution grant (TPECG)
The teachers’ pay grant was introduced in September 2018 to support the implementation of the 2018 teachers’ pay award. It was extended to support schools’ implementation of the 2019 pay award. The TPECG was introduced to cover the additional costs to schools due to the increase in teachers’ pension scheme employer contribution rates from 16.4% to 23.6% from September 2019. Schools have continued to receive additional funding to cover the additional expenditure caused by changes to teachers’ pay and pension contributions. From 2021-22, the relevant DSG blocks will cover the elements of TPECG and teachers’ pay grant for school aged children.
For the time series, we no longer include the entirety of these grants. Since the focus of the data is funding for pupils aged 5-16, we now exclude payments under these grants made on the basis of early years and post-16 pupil numbers.
Education services grant retained duties
Funding for duties that local authorities retained after the end of the education services grant has been included in the DSG since 2017-18 when it was added to the schools block initially. The following year this funding was made part of the new central school services block. Allocations of retained duties funding were published from 2013-14 when the education services grant was introduced, and have been included in the time series for consistency across the years shown. Prior to 2013-14, the functions were funded from local government sources and we have estimated these figures for the purposes of this data.
Since their low pupil populations make it impracticable to fund through a pupil-led formula, the City of London and Isles of Scilly do not receive DSG funding in the same way as other authorities and instead are funded through single funding streams, each worth about £3 million per year. This funding has been included in the time series.
Funding for two city technology colleges is not shown in the published DSG allocations due to their unique funding structure. Their total funding of £16 million per year has been included in the time series data.
The pupil counts used to derive the per-pupil funding figures in the time series up to 2020-21 use the number of full-time-equivalent pupils in reception and aged 5 to 15 years (as at 31 August) indicated by published January school census figures. The counts include pupil numbers in mainstream schools, special schools, pupil referral units (including free school and academy alternative provision), local authority alternative provision settings and non-maintained special schools. For the per-pupil funding figures for 2020-21, we have principally used published national pupil projections (NPP).
To derive the per-pupil funding figures, we have aligned funding in any financial year with the pupil numbers preceding the start of that financial year. For example, for 2020-21 funding figures, we used the numbers of pupils counted in January 2020, which is just before the start of the 2020-21 financial year. This is because in most cases, school funding for one year is derived based on their pupil counts in the previous year.
Information about the GDP deflator series used to calculate real terms funding figures in this report can be found in the commentary at the start of the school revenue funding section.
As far as possible, the figures in the time series have been compiled from published allocations, including the following.
Dedicated schools grant:
- https://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20120109204844/https://www.education.gov.uk/schools/adminandfinance/financialmanagement/schoolsrevenuefunding/settlement2012pupilpremium/a0070267/dsg-and-pupil-premium-allocations-for-2011-12 (for 2010-11 & 2011-12);
Pre-16 high needs funding that is not part of the high needs block:
- https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pupil-premium-2013-to-2014-final-allocation-tables (for 2012-13 & 2013-14);
Supplementary free school meals funding:
Teachers’ pay grant and teachers’ pension employer contribution grant:
Education services grant retained duties: