Trends in spending since the late 1970s and international comparisons. Updated to include spending figures published in Public Expenditure Statistical Analysis 2016 and Education at a Glance 2015Jump to full report >>
UK education expenditure increased consistently from the late 1990s to reach 5.6% in 2010-11; the highest rate since the mid 1970s.
Substantial increases in education spending as a proportion of GDP occurred in the early 1990s and the decade from 2201-2011.
Spending has increased in real terms in most years since 1979-80. The only periods where it fell for two or more consecutive years were in the mid-1980s, mid-1990s and since 2010-11.
Education and training expenditure was 5.8% of GDP in 2009-10. Real terms cuts to 2015-16 took it below 4.5% in 2016-17.
The Treasury has excluded the impairment cost of student loans from 2011-12. If this were added back in, the 2011-12 total would still be below the 2010-11 level.
The OECD ranked the UK highest out of 32 states on total education expenditure as a percentage of GDP in 2014.
At 6.7% of GDP (OECD measure), total public and private UK education spending was well above the OECD average of 5.2%.
Commons Briefing papers SN02631
Author: Lydia Jackson