Information for local authorities, schools and the general public about local authority education funding and expenditure plans for 2020 to 2021.


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.

The Department for Education 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.

Budget guidance

Local authorities do not need to submit a section 251 budget statement for 2020 to 2021.

This is to help reduce the burden on educational and care settings so that they can focus on the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19). You can view the full list of data collection changes for the remainder of the academic year.

Read the section 251 budget guide for local authorities 2020 to 2021 (PDF, 1.03MB, 69 pages) to find out how local authorities record their budget statements.

The administrative direction (PDF, 139KB, 2 pages) is a formal request for the collection of section 251 data. It’s prepared on behalf of the Secretary of State for Education.

Published 26 February 2020
Last updated 28 April 2020 + show all updates

  1. We have updated the section on budget guidance. LAs do not now need to submit a budget statement for 2020 to 2021, due to coronavirus (COVID-19)

  2. First published.