House of Commons Library

Education spending in the UK

Published Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Briefing paper analysing trends in UK public sector expenditure on education up to 2013-14, plans up to 2015-16, variations within the UK, long term trends in education spending since the 1950s and international comparisons.

Jump to full report >>

Levels of public spending on education in the UK reached new record levels in real terms in each year between 1996-97 and 2010-11. Spending as a proportion of GDP in 2009-10 and 2010-11 was at its highest since the mid-1970s. In 2011 UK public expenditure on education as a proportion of GDP was above the level in most other EU countries and above the OECD average.

This note looks at trends in public sector education expenditure in the UK. Some more detail can be found in Public expenditure statistical analysis 2014 including a breakdown of total expenditure by type of education and spending in total and per head in the different parts of the UK. The annual report and accounts of the Department for Education and the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills both include more technical detail of spending in the most recent year and, in appendices, plans to the end of the current spending review period. Chapter B of the OECD’s Education at a Glance 2014 compares education spending across OECD and other countries.

The standard notes Changes to higher education funding and student support from 2012/13 and HE in England from 2012: Funding and finance look in detail at spending on higher education in England. The Department for Education publishes a wide range of data and analysis on school funding and expenditure in England under different headings. The most useful can be found at: Statistics: local authority/school finance data, School and college funding and finance, Section 251 documents and Making schools and colleges more accountable and funding them fairly.

Commons Briefing papers SN01078

Author: Paul Bolton

Topics: Further education, Higher education, Public expenditure, Schools

Share this page

Stay up to date

  • Subscribe to RSS feed Subscribe to Email alerts Commons Briefing papers

House of Commons Library

The House of Commons Library provides research, analysis and information services for MPs and their staff.