Wednesday 23rd August 2023

Welcome to the insights from our RIFT finance experts. We've conducted an in-depth analysis of school budgets in various areas of England, and the results are quite revealing. Here's a comprehensive look at what we've discovered: 

In no fewer than 14 regions across England, school budgets have encountered challenges. We've studied reductions in the Individual Schools Budget (after academy recoupment) and expenditure per pupil. Additionally, we've identified the regions that are preferred by prospective parents when it comes to funding for schools. 

Our analysis involved a thorough examination of government data concerning local authority net expenditure on schools. We aimed to pinpoint the regions with the highest costs of schooling across the country. 

Our research indicates that a total of £28.7 billion was allocated to schooling across England in the most recent year (2021-22). This represents a 5% increase compared to the previous year and an 8% rise when compared to the pre-pandemic spending in 2019-20. 

When we consider the Individual Schools Budget after academy recoupment, the average expenditure per pupil stands at £5,454. This figure represents a 6% increase compared to the previous year. 

Among the local authorities, Thurrock stands out for investing the most per pupil in the past year. The expenditure per pupil in Thurrock reached a substantial £21,999, and the region has also experienced the most significant single-year increase, nearly doubling at 97%. 

Several other local authorities have also ranked among the top spenders per pupil in 2021-22. These include Kingston upon Hull (£15,640), Bromley (£10,644), Darlington (£8,348), and the City of London (£8,219). 

We've also observed notable increases in net expenditure per pupil in certain local authorities. Alongside Thurrock, Redcar and Cleveland (+58%), Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (43%), Bath and North East Somerset (32%), and Bury (19%) have seen substantial increases. 

On the other end of the spectrum, Solihull (£3,853) in the West Midlands has the lowest per pupil expenditure of any local authority. Following Solihull are Hartlepool (£4,339), Wokingham (£4,614), Gateshead (£4,813), and North Tyneside (£4,890). 

Interestingly, 14 local authorities, including Solihull (-14%) and Hartlepool (-11%), have experienced a reduction in expenditure per pupil on an annual basis. This trend has also been observed in regions like Dorset (-11%), Plymouth (-10%), North Somerset (-6%), Bromley (-4%), Rutland (-4%), Kingston upon Hull (-3%), Knowsley (-2%), Kingston upon Thames (-2%), North East Lincolnshire (-1%), Sutton (-1%), Gateshead (-0.5%), and Slough (-0.3%).