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Education spending in England: Launch of first annual report

Over the last 30 years, there have been significant changes to the level and structure of education spending in England. How have these changes affected spending per pupil across the different phases of education over time and how will they evolve in the next few years? Such questions have become much more prominent in the public debate over the last few years. Given the work by James Heckman and others emphasising the differential effectiveness of resources at different stages of the life course, they are also of vital importance for understanding the effectiveness of the way education spending is targeted.

To inform such debates, IFS researchers will be releasing their first annual report on education spending in England, supported by the Nuffield Foundation. This will provide consistent measures of day-to-day spending per pupil in England across the four main stages of education (early years, schools, further education and sixth forms, and higher education) stretching back to the early 1990s. This will update and improve our previous 2017 briefing note on this topic.

This first annual report will also include a special focus on Further Education and Skills, which is far more diverse than other areas of education and generally receives less attention. It has also the area of education that has seen the biggest cuts to spending over recent years, has been subject to many radical reforms over time and will continue to see challenges with the implementation of T-levels and expansion of apprenticeships.

At this event, IFS researchers will present key findings from this new report, focusing on issues such as:

  • How has spending on the entitlement to free early education and childcare provision changed over time, and what do we know already about how the new extended 30 hours entitlement is being delivered?
  • How has school spending per pupil changed over time and how will it evolve over the next few years?
  • How have participation and spending in 16-18 and 19+ Further Education changed over time? What are the different routes available and how are they funded? What incentives do these funding systems create? What further challenges does the Further Education sector face over the next few years?
  • How have public resources going into Higher Education in England changed following successive reforms to higher education funding?

Following presentations by the researchers, there will also be a panel discussion involving experts and stakeholders.