Per-pupil funding almost 2% lower than 2010 in today's money, admits DfE

Per-pupil funding is currently 1.9 per cent lower than it was in 2010 in real-terms, the government has admitted.

New statistics published by the Department for Education lay bare the extent of real-terms cuts to school budgets over the past decade.

In 2019-20, schools received on average £5,940 per pupil. The amount they received in 2010 based on today’s prices was £6,050.

And if a recent grant paid to schools to cover increases in their contributions to the teachers’ pension scheme is excluded from calculations, per-pupil funding is actually £5,820 this year, 3.8 per cent lower in real-terms than it was in 2010-11.

The statistics have been released to coincide with the introduction of new legislation which will force councils to pass on new minimum per-pupil funding rates for schools.

It also comes after the UK Statistics Authority ordered the DfE to publish a “comprehensive set” of official figures on school funding.

The DfE has also published a new tool to allow parents to find out how much additional funding their local schools under a settlement that comes into effect this April.

However, the tool only shows parents what increase schools will receive in cash-terms, which does not take account of inflation.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies has warned that plans to increase the overall school budget by £7.1 billion over the coming three years will still result in an “unprecedented” 13-year real-terms freeze.

The DfE’s new statistics show that additional funding due to schools next year, not including the teacher pension grant, will increase funding by 2.9 per cent compared to this year, but it will still be 1 per cent lower in real terms than it was in 2010-11.