2021 annual report on education spending in England

Think tank: Institute for Fiscal Studies

Author(s): Christine Farquharson; Luke Sibieta; Imran Tahir; Ben Waltmann

November 30, 2021

This report from UK think tank the Institute for Fiscal Studies looks at the reduction of national income the UK devotes to public spending on education.

The cuts to education spending over the last decade are effectively without precedent in post-war UK history, including a 9% real-terms fall in school spending per pupil and a 14% fall in spending per student in colleges. Whilst we have been choosing to spend an ever-expanding share of national income on health, we have remarkably reduced the fraction of national income we devote to public spending on education. The present government has ambitious goals to level up poorer areas of the country, emphasising a big role for technical education. However, changes to the distribution of education spending have been working in the opposite direction. Recent school funding changes have tended to work against schools serving disadvantaged areas. Cuts to spending have been larger for colleges and adult education, and still won’t be reversed by 2024. These are the main conclusions of the new ‘2021 Annual Report on Education Spending in England’ by researchers at the Institute for Fiscal Studies, published today, and funded by the Nuffield Foundation as part of a wider programme of work looking at trends and challenges in education spending. All figures are in 2021–22 prices and represent new IFS estimates of spending per pupil across different stages of education in England.