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Schools: Finance

Question for Department for Education

UIN HL1743, tabled on 5 July 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the average real-terms change in per-pupil funding in (1) the most deprived 20 per cent of schools, and (2) the least deprived 20 per cent, over the past five years.

Answered on

4 August 2021

In the current 2021/22 financial year, the National Funding Formula (NFF) allocates 17%, equivalent to £6.4 billion, of its funding through additional needs factors, which include deprivation. A further £2.5 billion of pupil premium funding, which has a specific focus on raising the attainment of deprived pupils, is provided on top of that. The department has recently published notional NFF allocations for the 2022/23 financial year. The funding allocated through additional needs factors in the NFF will increase to £6.7 billion.

The following table shows average per pupil funding allocated through the NFF, for the most deprived 20% of schools, and the least deprived 20% of schools, in the financial years 2018/19 and 2022/23.

NFF funding per pupil inc premises (adjusted for ACA[1]) - 2018-19

NFF funding per pupil inc premises (adjusted for ACA) - 2022-23

% increase in real terms

Most deprived

£4,917

£5,671

3.9%

Least deprived

£3,997

£4,755

6.4%

Pay and pensions grants have been removed from this analysis, to ensure comparability between the years. The most and least deprived schools have been identified by reference to the proportion of pupils eligible for free school meals in 2022/23, and the groups of schools will not necessarily represent those who were most or least deprived in 2018/19.

In addition to NFF allocations, schools also receive funding through the pupil premium, to help them improve the attainment of their disadvantaged pupils. In the 2021/22 financial year, each primary pupil who has been eligible for free school meals at a point over the past six years attracts £1,345 Pupil Premium funding, with each “Ever 6” free school meals secondary pupil attracting £955. The equivalent rates for 2018/19 were £1,320 for primary pupils, and £935 for secondary pupils. The department will confirm schools’ pupil premium allocations for 2022/23 in spring next year.

In setting the NFF, the department has been careful to consider funding for deprivation, considering both the deprivation funding channelled through the NFF, and the funding provided through the pupil premium. It is right that schools with more pupils with additional needs, such as those indicated by measures of deprivation, low prior attainment, or English as an additional language, should receive extra funding to help ensure that schools are supported to meet the needs of all their pupils. For example, in 2021/22 a primary school pupil who is eligible for free school meals will attract a total of £2,380 for their school, through a combination of the free school meal and FSM6 factors in the NFF and the pupil premium, and a secondary pupil attracts £2,255. This is in addition to the basic per-pupil funding that all pupils attract through the NFF.

The main reasons for the relative redistribution of funding between local authorities are the introduction of minimum per pupil funding levels in 2018/19 and the funding system reflecting changes in relative deprivation over time. Some areas that have been historically particularly deprived, such as inner London, have become less deprived relative to other areas.

[1] The area cost adjustment is a multiplier that applies to both pupil-led and school-led factors and enables the core NFF funding amounts to take account of geographical variation in labour market costs.