Information for local authorities, schools and the general public about local authority education funding and expenditure plans for 2018 to 2019. Detailed guide: Section 251 for 2018 to 2019


Section 251 is part of the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009. Local authorities submit statements on planned and actual expenditure on education and children’s social care. Local authorities submit their statements to the Secretary of State for Education.

The Department for Education (DfE) uses the data for publishing statistics, constructing benchmarking tables, answering parliamentary questions and responding to other data requests.

Comparing information is important for schools forums and others in discussions about budget levels and use of funds.

Section 251 budget guidance for local authorities

Local authorities record their total dedicated schools grant (DSG) planned expenditure and other non-statutory spending. They must provide details of planned expenditure for their schools, including spending on early years, high needs and post-16. They must also provide details of their children and young people’s services budget.

The section 251 budget guide for local authorities 2018 to 2019 (ODT, 162KB) explains how local authorities record their budget statements.

We’ve published 2 videos relating to the section 251 budget:

Budget statements should be submitted in the section 251 budget tables 2018 to 2019 (MS Excel Spreadsheet, 107KB) using COLLECT (DfE’s data collection and management system for education).

You can read our section 251 COLLECT instructions for more information.

The administrative direction (MS Word Document, 69.1KB) is a formal request for the collection of section 251 data. It’s prepared on behalf of the Secretary of State for Education.

Section 251 budget data

The section 251 budget data statements are the primary means of informing schools and the public in general about local authority funding and expenditure plans. They are intended to give detailed information on each local authorites planned expenditure on their education and children’s social care functions in a form that allows benchmarking.

Budget summary level: 2018 to 2019

This is a summary of the budget summary level: 2018 to 2019 (MS Excel Spreadsheet, 34.6KB) at a national level, split by sector and budget line.

Budget detailed level: local authority information 2018 to 2019

This is a detailed view of the section 251 schools budget data (MS Excel Spreadsheet, 993KB) submitted by local authorities, split by local authority and budget line.

Budget detailed level: high needs table 2018 to 2019

This is a detailed view of the section 251 high needs and alternative provision data (MS Excel Spreadsheet, 144KB) submitted by local authorities, split by local authority and budget line.

Budget detailed level: early years table 2018 to 2019

This is a detailed view of the section 251 early years data (MS Excel Spreadsheet, 198KB) submitted by local authorities, split by local authority and budget line.

Section 251 budget 2018 to 2019: individual local authority expenditure data

This is a detailed view of the section 251 data split into individual local authority tables (MS Excel Spreadsheet, 4.04MB).

Section 251 benchmarking data

The benchmarking tables of planned expenditure are drawn from the published section 251 budget statements for the 2018 to 2019 financial year and are primarily aimed at schools forums and local authorities.

The following tables give detailed information on each local authority’s planned expenditure on education in a form which enables comparison between local authorities.

Section 251 local authority table (net) information: per capita (MS Excel Spreadsheet, 2.73MB) shows section 251 net budget data on a per capita (per pupil or per head of population) basis, to enable easy comparison between local authorities

Section 251 local authority table (gross) information: per capita (MS Excel Spreadsheet, 2.73MB) shows section 251 gross budget data on a per capita (per pupil or per head of population) basis, to enable easy comparison between local authorities

Pupil numbers 2018 to 2019 (MS Excel Spreadsheet, 25.1KB) shows the pupil and population numbers used to calculate the “per capita” figures used in the other tables

Changes in local authority planned expenditure between 2017 to 2018 and 2018 to 2019 (MS Excel Spreadsheet, 693KB) shows year on year changes in selected items of planned spending to enable easy comparison across financial years

Local authority benchmarking tables 2018 to 2019 (MS Excel Spreadsheet, 632KB) shows additional information on planned expenditure, including dedicated schools grant allocations and the percentages of schools with minimum funding guarantee

Local authority planned expenditure benchmarking tables: 2018 to 2019: explanatory note (MS Word Document, 86.3KB) and local authority planned expenditure benchmarking tables: 2018 to 2019: additional information (MS Word Document, 62.9KB) provide information on how to use the local authority benchmarking data.

Published 21 February 2018
Last updated 9 October 2018 + show all updates

  1. We’ve published the section 251 budget data for 2018 to 2019 and the section 251 benchmarking tables, explanatory note and additional information for 2018 to 2019. Local authorities can use the information to compare planned expenditure against national averages and statistical neighbours.
  2. We've added the links to our 2 new videos relating to section 251 budget.
  3. First published.


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