House of Commons Library

School funding in England: FAQs

Published Monday, July 15, 2019

This briefing paper aims to give a short, non-technical overview of issues around school funding in England and answer frequently-asked questions on this subject. It's been updated in advance of a debate on funding for small and village schools on 17 July 2019.

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The overall amount of school funding in England

The Government maintains that there’s more money going in to schools in England than ever before, and that core per-pupil funding is being protected in real terms for the remaining two years of this Spending Review period.

Despite the Government’s assurances that funding for schools in England is at a record high, and that the way it’s being distributed is being made fairer, concerns are still being expressed about the sufficiency of overall school funding and cost pressures faced by schools. In recent months, there have been particular concerns around funding for teacher pay rises, 16-18 provision, and special educational needs provision.

The new national funding formulas (NFF) for schools and high needs

A new national funding formula is being used to calculate core school funding in 2018-19 and future years. There are separate funding formulas for high need (mostly special educational needs funding), services centrally provided by local authorities, and early years provision. Local authorities receive a block grant from the DfE, called the Dedicated Schools Grant, or DSG.

For the time being, the schools NFF is only being used to work out notional allocations for individual schools. These are then summed and passed on to local authorities, who then draw up local funding formulas for onward distribution. As such, the NFF is operating in a ‘soft’ format.

The Government has confirmed that similar arrangements will continue into 2020-21; there’s no confirmed date for a move to a ‘hard’ schools NFF that would give core revenue funding directly to all mainstream schools.


Commons Briefing papers CBP-8419

Authors: Nerys Roberts; Robert Long

Topic: Schools

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