From education to employment

Schools in England to benefit from major funding boost

students walking through gate

Every state school in England is to receive a cash boost, as primary and secondary schools are allocated extra funding for the next academic year.

The additional cash is part of a £2 billion injection of new funding for schools – being made in both this year and next year – topping up budgets to help headteachers manage higher costs like energy bills and teacher pay. This sits alongside the Prime Minister’s promise to halve inflation.

A typical primary school will receive approximately £35,000 and a typical secondary school approximately £200,000, with the first payments by the 10th May. The majority of this funding is allocated on a per-pupil basis, and disadvantaged pupils attract additional funding to their school. The allocations also factor in differences in wage costs between areas.

Schools can choose how to invest the extra funding, however it is primarily expected to support salary uplifts for teachers and teaching assistants and help with increased running costs, school trips and learning materials.

The boost means that schools budgets are rising by £3.5 billion next year, and funding will be at the highest ever level in real terms per pupil by the next academic year, as measured by the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

It also means school funding is set to rise faster than forecast inflation in both 2023/24 and 2024/25.

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan said:

“I am hugely grateful to all our fantastic teachers, school leaders and support staff for all their incredible work and the immeasurable impact they have on the lives of children every day.

“Teachers must continue to have the resources they need, and this extra cash will make sure that they do.

“With school funding set to be at its highest ever level next year, even accounting for inflation, parents everywhere can be confident schools are being supported to let teachers get on and do what they do best – teach.”

The remainder of the £2 billion funding boost will be used to increase Pupil Premium funding rates, which are rising by 5% in 2023-24, to support disadvantaged pupils and local authorities’ high needs budgets which support special schools.  

The Department for Education is also today responding to a consultation on the National Funding Formula (NFF)  which is used to allocate school funding, considering a range of factors such as the number of pupils, their needs and the school site.

Among the changes being introduced, and in recognition of falling pupil numbers across some areas of the country, is the removal of a requirement for schools to be Ofsted rated good or outstanding in order to be eligible for additional funding to help manage a significant decline in pupil numbers. Schools will need to show that places will be required within five years. 

Councils will also be set expectations around the minimum funding they must provide to support schools seeing a significant increase of pupil numbers. Schools with more than one site will also now receive funding on a consistent national basis to go towards the additional costs they face due to the need to duplicate services, like caretaking, across sites.

The consultation response sets out changes to the formula from 2024-25 and reconfirms the Department’s commitment to move to a ‘direct’ NFF, in which funding for individual schools will be set by a single, national formula – rather than each local authority having its own local formula to allocate funding for individual schools. The changes will make the system fairer, more efficient and predictable.

Sector Response

Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:

“It is important to understand that the £2 billion of additional funding, that was previously announced in the Autumn Statement, follows a decade of real-terms cuts to school funding and rising costs which have left budgets teetering on the brink of disaster. The additional money will not be sufficient to cover increased costs in many schools and it is inevitable that there will need to be further cuts.

“The government talks about how this funding will benefit a typical school, but there is no such thing as a typical school. Schools come in many different shapes and sizes and many of them are in absolutely desperate situation financially because the system has been starved of the money it needs. School leaders are at their wits’ end of where they can make further cuts while maintaining a level of provision that children need and parents expect.

“The Department for Education increasingly seems as though it is inhabiting an alternate reality utterly divorced from what is actually happening in the system it is meant to oversee. There is a minor concession in this package over the removal of a requirement for schools to be Ofsted rated good or outstanding in order to be eligible for additional funding to help manage a significant decline in pupil numbers. But the reason that this is such a critical issue in the first place is because the level of per pupil funding is so low, particularly in primary schools which are facing this demographic bombshell. Some small primary schools are barely financially sustainable as it is and any loss in pupil numbers is virtually impossible to absorb.”

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said:

“This is simply a re-announcement of funding that has already been promised to the sector. No-one should be fooled into thinking that this is new money.

“Even with this funding, there is clear evidence that schools will continue to have make cuts in the face of rapidly rising costs.

“The reforms around funding for schools with falling numbers are welcome. But this remains a relatively minor tweak that won’t address the more fundamental funding challenges schools are currently facing.”

Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said: 

“It is amazing the Department of Education is choosing to boast that education funding will finally match 2009-2010 levels by 2024-25. Their expectations must be very low indeed if they consider this progress, or in any way acceptable. It is evidence of profound failure at the heart of government that education funding will not have increased in real terms over 15 years. It ignores the significant comparable decline in the pay of teachers compared with other professions and the associated problems in recruitment and retention. It ignores the huge cuts to children’s services elsewhere that are impacting on schools.

“The extra £2bn of funding is a sticking plaster to cover the high level of inflation in the economy. Taken as a whole, Government funding plans for 2022/23 to 2024/25 leave schools more or less exactly where they started. The Government is like a low rent magician using poor sleight of hand, when everyone can see the workings for themselves.

“Persistent underfunding has led to deep and lasting effects on the education sector. Class sizes are at record levels – primary class sizes are the highest in Europe and secondary class sizes are the highest since records began more than 40 years ago. All children deserve to be taught in classes of fewer than 30 led by a qualified teacher, but this is simply not being addressed. Nor is the recruitment and retention crisis, when the government cannot even meet its own targets in teacher training and their pay offer to existing teachers is rejected for being ‘insulting’. No wonder teachers are leaving the profession in high numbers.

“The education sector needs more money and needs it now. If the Government is serious about education, it needs to get its head out of the sand.”

  • A typical primary school has around 200 pupils, whilst a typical secondary school has around 900 pupils
  • The Mainstream Schools Additional Grant will allocate the majority of the additional £2 billion from the Autumn Statement.
  • Local authorities will receive the Mainstream Schools Additional Grant (MSAG) funding by the 28th April and academy trusts and free schools by the 10th May. 
  • The £2 billion further funding for 2023-24 equates to £1.45 billion for the Mainstream Schools Additional Grant, £400 million for high needs and the remaining funding used to increase pupil premium funding rates.
  • Per pupil funding for mainstream schools will increase by 5.6% in 2023-24, compared with last year, with average per-pupil funding rising to £5,840.
  • Falling roll funds can be allocated through local authorities from their Dedicated School Grant (DSG) schools block funding.

This funding today is in addition to separate funding schools receive to support specific outcomes including:

  • Almost £5 billion for education recovery initiatives, including more than £1 billion for the National Tutoring Programme, which has revolutionised the way targeted support is provided for the children and young people who need it the most.
  • To support teacher development, the Early Career Framework provides the solid foundations for a successful career in teaching, backed by over £130 million a year in funding.
  • We have launched a new and updated suite of National Professional Qualifications for teachers and school leaders at all levels, from those who want to develop expertise in high-quality teaching practice to those leading multiple schools across trusts. Since autumn 2021, eligible teachers and leaders have been able to access scholarships to undertake fully-funded NPQs.
  • Investing over £600 million in the PE and Sport Premium for the next two academic years.
  • The Premium is provided to all primary schools in England and other educational establishments with primary-aged children, such as special schools and hospital schools.
  • Through the primary PE and sport premium, the government has invested over £2bn of ring-fenced funding to primary schools to improve PE and sport since 2013. The Government doubled the premium to £320m a year from September 2017.
  • Separately, we are investing £22 million in the School Games Organisers (SGO) network, with the commitment of funding until the end of the summer term 2025.

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