William Eichler 02 August 2022

School spending per pupil to remain below 2010 levels

School spending per pupil to remain below 2010 levels image
Image: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock.com.

School spending per pupil in 2024 will remain 3% below 2010 levels in real-terms despite extra funding last year, think tank warns.

A new briefing note from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has calculated that between 2009-10 and 2019-20 school spending per pupil in England fell by 9% in real-terms.

Last year the Government allocated extra funding to schools and explicitly stated that this would restore spending per pupil to 2010 levels in real-terms by the end of the parliament in 2024-25.

According to the IFS, however, high cost pressures on schools, including increases in teacher salaries, support staff pay, and food and energy prices, mean that the Government is ‘no longer on track to deliver on this objective.’

Luke Sibieta, IFS research fellow and author said: ‘On top of rising energy and food prices, schools now also face the cost of rising salaries for teachers and support staff. Within the context of a £4bn rise in the school budget this year, these costs look just about affordable – at least on average.

‘Next year looks much more problematic, however, with growth in funding per pupil expected to fall below growth in school costs. Indeed, the fast rises in school costs will reduce school budgets’ purchasing power and leave spending per pupil in 2024 still about 3% lower in real-terms than in 2010.

‘The big fiscal choice for policymakers this autumn is whether or not to provide more funding to public services to compensate for rising costs and the significant challenges they face. It will be that much harder for schools to meaningfully contribute to levelling-up ambitions when they face real-terms cuts from next year onwards.’

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