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Home Research areas Education, skills and human capital Education spending

Education spending

Education plays a vital role is determining the productivity and living standards for future generations, as well as providing a mechanism for social mobility and equality of opportunity. As a result, how much public money is spent on education and how this money is allocated across the different stages of education is a question of crucial policy relevance and a hotly contested area of political debate. Currently, education spending is the second-largest area of public service spending in the UK, representing about 4.5% of national income in 2015–16 (slightly above the OECD average). The level of real terms spending on education has increased considerably over the last 30 years; however, due to budget cuts and large-scale reforms to the system, there are resource pressures across all areas of education in England.

In our research in this area, we set out the long-run trends of government spending on education, describe how this money is spent across different stages of education and analyze the impacts of these policies on the students who pass through the education system. We also explore the progressivity of the education system, describing how funding is distributed across students from different backgrounds.

Education spending

Contacts

Contact IFS on 020 7291 4800 or mailbox@ifs.org.uk

Luke Sibieta
Research Fellow
Chris Belfield
Research Economist
Christine Farquharson
Research Economist
( 94 results found )
Briefing note
Pupils benefit from a large amount of state funding for education in the 12+ years they spend in formal education, about £73,000 on average for pupils aged 16 in Summer 2010 in England. The total amount they experience is shaped by their education choices (e.g. whether to stay on post 16 and/or go ...
Report
Our first annual report on education spending in England provides measures of spending per student in the early years, schools, further education and higher education back to the early 1990s.
IFS Working Paper W18/16
Brant Abbott, Giovanni Gallipoli, Costas Meghir and Giovanni L. Violante
This paper examines the equilibrium effects of alternative financial aid policies intended to promote college participation. We build an overlapping generations life cycle model with education, labor supply, and consumption/saving decisions.
Mimeo
This note was submitted as evidence to the Education Committee Inquiry on School and College Funding.
Observation
In this observation IFS researchers analyse how much it would really cost to write-off student debt.
Briefing note
In this observation IFS researchers analyse how much it would really cost to write-off student debt.
Observation
This election observation details the education spending commitments and compares them to existing government plans.
Observation
This election observation details the education spending commitments and compares them to existing government plans.
Briefing note
This election observation details the education spending commitments and compares them to existing government plans.
External publication
Public sector pay has been squeezed since public spending cuts began to take effect from 2011, and it looks set to be squeezed even further up to 2020. However, this comes on the back of an increase in public sector wages relative to those in the private sector during the Great Recession. There is ...