This will help schools meet the challenge of faster rises in costs. Following a decade of cuts, this extra funding will ensure that spending per pupil is able to return to 2010 levels. However, with no net growth in spending per pupil over 14 years, this still represents a historically large squeeze on school resources. Throughout this chapter, we focus on current or day-to-day spending on schools (i.e. excluding capital spending).
Total school spending
Figure 5.1 shows total school spending per pupil aged 3–19 between 2003–04 and 2022–23 broken down into four different components:
- Funding allocated to schools. This includes funding directly allocated to schools and early years providers. Early years providers are included because primary school budgets include funding for nursery pupils in some years. This also includes funding for special schools.
- Local authority spending. This includes central spending on a range of services for pupils with special educational needs, admissions, transport, educational psychology and other services.
- Sixth-form funding. This is funding provided to schools for pupils aged 16–19. We include this given that it is often included within total school expenditure figures.
- Extra funding for employer pension and National Insurance contributions. From September 2019, schools received extra funding to meet the cost of higher employer pension contributions and, in 2022–23, they received extra funding for higher employer National Insurance contributions in preparation for the now cancelled Health and Social Care Levy. We often exclude these figures from comparisons over time as they are paid to compensate schools for higher costs.
In 2003–04 (the earliest year for which we can produce this consistent set of figures), total school spending stood at about £5,930 per pupil in 2022–23 prices. This rose by 22% in real terms up to 2009–10, reaching a high point of £7,260 per pupil. After 2009–10, spending per pupil fell by 9% in real terms to reach £6,640 in 2019–20, taking spending per pupil back to around the level last seen around 2006.