Why it costs £73,000 to educate a child

Date: 03.12.2018

Research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) found that, since the start of the millennium, government policies and changing attitudes have transformed how much children from different social classes receive in state spending on their formal education, from primary school through to university.

According to the IFS, the turnaround is mainly due to the rise in the school-leaving age from 16 to 18, as well as the additional school funding, which began under Labour, targeted at disadvantaged areas and children. The rising proportion of children from poorer families going to college and university for the first time is also a factor, it said.

Spending on schools is not shared out equally. The amount spent on each primary school child in England in 2017-18 was £4,700, compared with £6,200 for secondary school children.

However, priorities have shifted, with per pupil spending on primary schools increasing by 135% since 1990 after accounting for inflation, compared with 86% for secondaries. Early years education has also become a growing area of spending, but remains relatively small.

There has been less money for older children, with spending on further education students aged 16-18 up only 10% since the early 90s.

Among sixth formers the amount available for each pupil has fallen 20% in real terms, from £6,300 a year in 2010 to £5,000 in 2017 - lower than at any point since at least 2002.

Funding per young person in further education colleges is at about the same level as it was in 2006. It had been 50% higher than in secondary schools, but is now 8% lower.

 

Read the full report here