Primaries hit hardest under national funding formula

Primary schools will be the biggest losers under the government’s funding plans, according to new research carried out by the NEU teaching union and shared with Tes.

The analysis reveals that primary pupils will attract 5 per cent less cash in real terms by 2020, compared with 2015. This represents a £201 cut per pupil over five years, taking account of inflation and rising costs such as increased national insurance contributions.

By contrast, non-selective secondary schools will see their per-pupil budgets fall by 4 per cent in real terms, while grammars will experience a funding drop of just 1 per cent, according to the findings.

The percentage-point difference between future funding for primaries and secondaries equates to many millions of pounds. It is one of the “many unintended outcomes of under-funding the national funding formula”, according to Andrew Morris, the NEU’s assistant general secretary for funding.

A Department for Education spokesperson described the NEU figures as “fundamentally misleading” and said: “They are based on historical data and do not reflect the situation in our schools today. They also ignore the fact that schools funding is driven by pupil numbers and, as pupil numbers rise, the amount of money schools receive will also increase.”

On average, per-pupil funding is 29 per cent higher for secondary schools than primary schools. But opinion is divided over whether this should remain the case.

While 40 per cent of respondents to the Department for Education’s consultation on the national funding formula were in support of maintaining the status quo, 31 per cent thought that primary and secondary funding should be brought closer together.

Read more Primaries hit hardest under national funding formula

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Categories: Budgets, Primary and Teaching.


  1. Anonymous

    DfE: ‘They also ignore the fact that schools funding is driven by pupil numbers and, as pupil numbers rise, the amount of money schools receive will also increase’

    Are DfE officials stupid or do they just think we are. Is the maths too difficult for them. Let’s make it simple.

    School has 100 pupils. Total budget £1000 @ £10 per pupil

    School now has 150 pupils. Total budget £1350 @£9 per pupil due to government cuts per pupil.

    Amount school receives has gone up by £350. Hooray. DfE is correct. Now let’s get on with spending that £1 less per pupil. Or, put another way, school budget has increased by 35% … good old government … but the amount to spend per pupil is down by 10% … the DfE thinks we’re stupid.

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