Schoolzone | 2018 annual report on education spending in England

2018 annual report on education spending in England

Date: 17.09.2018

School funding patterns reveal a big shift from post 16 to pre-school. Meanwhile, universities are receiving 22% more since 2011 thanks to tuition fees and at the same time the cost of HE to the taxpayer has fallen by  almost £1 billion.


Key findings

  • Spending on the 3- and 4-year-old free entitlement to early education has risen from almost nothing in the early 1990s to about £3 billion in 2017–18. The new 30-hour extended entitlement has driven a £500-million spending rise in the past year, which includes a 9% rise in spending per hour. However, other early years services have seen big cuts – spending on Sure Start children’s centres has fallen by two-thirds since 2009–10.
  • Total school spending per pupil has fallen by 8% in real terms between 2009–10 and 2017–18. This was mainly driven by a 55% cut to local authority spending on services and cuts of over 20% to school sixth-form funding. Funding per pupil provided to individual primary and secondary schools has been better protected and remains over 60% higher than in 2000–01, though it is about 4% below its peak in 2015.
  • Funding per student aged 16–18 has seen the biggest squeeze of all stages of education for young people in recent years. School sixth forms have faced budget cuts of 21% per student since their peak in 2010–11, while further education and sixth-form college funding per student has fallen by about 8% over the same period. By 2019–20, funding per young person in further education will be around the same as in 2006–07: only 10% higher than it was 30 years earlier. Spending per student in school sixth forms will be lower than at any point since at least 2002.
  • Reforms to higher education funding have increased university resources and made little difference to the long-run cost to the public purse. Universities currently receive just over £9,000 per full-time undergraduate student per year to fund their teaching. This is 22% higher than it was in 2011, and nearly 60% more than in 1997. Reforms since 2011 have cut the impact on the headline measure of the government’s deficit by about £6 billion per cohort entering higher education, but the expected long-run cost to the taxpayer has fallen by less than £1 billion.


Read the IFS report

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