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School funding


A recent report by the National Audit Office (NAO) found that a new national schools funding formula has led to to a shift in funding from more deprived schools to better off schools.

Government funding per pupil has remained virtually unchanged since 2014. The Department for Education (DfE) implemented a new national funding formula in 2018-19, which set new minimum per-pupil funding arrangements.

Under the national funding formula, more deprived local areas receive more per-pupil funding than less deprived areas as funding is linked to need, but the difference has decreased. The main reasons for the relative re-distribution of funding between local authorities were the introduction of minimum per-pupil funding levels; and changes in relative need, such as the proportion of pupils eligible for free school meals.

Between 2017-18 and 2020-21, average per-pupil funding in the most deprived fifth of schools fell in real terms by 1.2%, while per-pupil funding in the least deprived fifth increased by 2.9%. In total, 58.3% of the most deprived fifth of schools saw a real-terms decrease in per-pupil funding.

The Committee will question senior officials at the Department for Education and the Education and Skills Funding Agency on the impact of the national funding formula. If you have evidence on this, please submit it here by 6pm on Tuesday 13 July 2021.