|Date:||27 February 2017|
|Authors:||Chris Belfield and Luke Sibieta|
School funding is in the headlines again as the government tries to rationalise the current system. This rationalisation is long overdue but it is happening at a time when funding is tighter than at any time over the last 30 years. The inevitable result is that some schools will lose out. But the bigger story over the longer term is that schools have done rather well in terms of funding per pupil. Spending on sixth forms and further education, by contrast, has been continually squeezed. Spending per pupil in school is set to be at least 70% higher in 2020 than it was in 1990. Spending per pupil in sixth forms and FE is set to be no higher at all than it was in 1990.
These are among the findings from a new report by IFS researchers published today: Long-Run Comparisons of Spending per Pupil across Different Stages of Education, funded by the Nuffield Foundation. For the first time, this report provides consistent data on day-to-day or current spending per pupil on different stages of education in England over a long time period. The main graph for spending per pupil across different stages of education over time is shown in the notes to editors and all figures are presented in 2016–17 prices.
Luke Sibieta, an author of the report and an Associate Director at IFS said:
“The last 30 years have seen huge changes in spending priorities in education. There is a strong case for the increased spending on early years’ education. The rationale for focussing cuts on 16-18 year olds and in further education is much less obvious. The actions – as opposed to the rhetoric – of both Labour and Conservative governments suggest that they are agreed this is a low priority area for spending. Why they think that is unclear”.
Chris Belfield, another author of the report and a Research Economist at IFS said:
“The amount of resources spent on higher education is much higher now than it was 25 years ago. But it has been a bumpy ride. Across most years, spending has tended to fall, only to be corrected with large and irregular tuition fee reforms. This uncertainty is a major hindrance to universities when making long-term resource decisions.”
Notes to Editors
1. ‘Long-Run Comparisons of Spending per Pupil across Different Stages of Education’ by Christopher Belfield (IFS), Claire Crawford (IFS and University of Warwick) and Luke Sibieta (IFS) was published at 00.01 Monday 27 February 2017.
2. This research has been funded by the Nuffield Foundation. The Nuffield Foundation is an endowed charitable trust that aims to improve social well-being in the widest sense. It funds research and innovation in education and social policy and also works to build capacity in education, science and social science research. The Nuffield Foundation has funded this project, but the views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the Foundation. More information is available at nuffieldfoundation.org