14 May 2024
School Funding

More money than ever before is being invested in schools, ensuring every child gets a world-class education. In 2024-25, the total core schools budget will be at its highest-ever level, in both real terms and in real terms per pupil. This budget will total £59.6 billion in 2024-25, an increase of £1.8 billion from this year and on top of the £3.9 billion rise in 2023-24.

Mainstream schools in England will receive an average of around £6,000 for each pupil from next year through the National Funding Formula, with additional funding for teacher pay on top of that. Overall, funding will be at its highest-ever level in real terms per pupil in 2024-25, as measured by the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies, underlining the Government’s commitment to education.

This money can be spent on staff salaries, school trips and classroom equipment which will raise school standards and educational outcomes. These increases form part of the additional £9.8 billion being invested in the schools core budget by 2024-25, compared to 2021-22.

Furthermore, teachers in England received the highest pay award for 30 years (6.5 per cent), after the Government accepted in full the recommendations set out by the independent pay review body. In doing so, the Government has met its manifesto commitment to raise the minimum starting salary for teachers to £30,000 from September 2023. This deal has ensured teachers and school leaders called off strike action.

The Department for Education is also committed to a long-term School Rebuilding Programme, renovating 500 schools in England over the next decade. Furthermore, the Government has allocated over £13 billion since 2015 to maintain and improve school facilities across England.

National Funding Formula Error (October 2023) -

I am pleased that the Department for Education (DfE) has apologised for the error in processing forecast pupil numbers, which led to schools being assigned the incorrect level of funding through the National Funding Formula. It is important to note that no schools have yet received their funding for 2024-25. Recalculating funding will also not affect the total amount that the DfE plans to spend in the Core Schools Budget for 2024-25. The budget of £59.6 billion will fund the teacher pay increase agreed in 2023, and deliver the highest-ever funding in real terms per pupil.

Funding for Sport in Schools -

The Primary PE and Sport Premium will continue for academic years 2023/24 and 2024/25 with a total of over £600 million of funding across the two years provided by the Department for Education and the Department for Health and Social Care. It is provided to all primary schools in England, with an average of £18,000 per school. Schools must use the funding to make additional and sustainable improvements to the quality of PE and sport they provide, with eligible spending including teacher training, providing a wider range of sports to pupils and top-up swimming lessons. Schools will receive updated guidance this summer setting out how schools should be using the funding to the best advantage of their pupils. A new digital tool will also be introduced for schools to report on spending of their allocation of the PE and Sport Premium.

An additional £11 million per year to fund School Games Organisers is being made available for a further two academic years until 2025, provided by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Department of Health and Social Care. This national network of 450 School Games Organisers works directly with local schools to coordinate inclusive sport competitions across 40 different sports and activities.

The Department for Education is funding up to £57 million to deliver phase three of the Opening School Facilities programme which allows schools to open their sport facilities outside of the core school day, in weekends and holidays. The programme is being delivered by consortium partners Active Partnerships, ukactive, Youth Sport Trust and StreetGames. Up to 1350 schools across England will be targeted where the funding will have the most positive impact in their communities including for girls, disadvantaged children, those with special educational needs and disabilities and other groups who have lower participation levels in sport.

National Tutoring Programme -

The National Tutoring Programme has given more pupils access to tutoring who would otherwise have not had an opportunity to catch up from lost learning in the pandemic. As of May 2023, over 3.4 million courses have been delivered and with close to 90 per cent of schools participating.

The Government has also provided schools with over £1 billion to embed tutoring into the school day and settings can also use Pupil Premium (PP) funding to support pupils on the programme. The PP will rise to almost £2.9 billion in 2023-24, its highest-ever level. The Recovery Premium, which has doubled in secondary schools this year from £145 to £276 per eligible pupil, can also be used to help pupils to catch up.

The Government has taken steps to ensure that tutoring is high quality, including providing clear guidance to tutoring organisations and resources to deliver effective tutoring for children. For this academic year, the Government has increased the subsidy for the programme, which means that schools can use their National Tutoring Programme funding to cover up to 50 per cent of the cost of the tutoring they deliver instead of the previously announced 25 per cent. This means that schools need to use less of their own money to be able to provide high-quality tutoring through the programme. The Government has made this change in response to feedback from schools and to ensure that the maximum possible amount of tutoring is delivered in the 2023/24 academic year.

As you will know, the National Tutoring Programme is available to pupils in years 1-11 across all state-funded schools, with the funding allocation calculated based on the number of students eligible for the PP and the average cost of a tutoring course. Guidance encourages schools to prioritise PP students. For the academic 2023/24 year, the Government will provide mainstream schools with a minimum of £67.50 per PP-eligible pupil, and special schools with a minimum of £176.25 per PP-eligible pupil.

Oak National Academy -

I am aware that the Oak National Academy has become a Government arm's length body (ALB), providing free curriculum resources to schools. I understand that the new curriculum body will ensure that high-quality lessons are available nationwide for the benefit of all children, working with teachers across the country. The Government has set aside £43 million to fund the Oak National Academy over the next three years.

Free optional and adaptable digital curriculum resources in six priority subjects will be fully available by September 2024, following a procurement exercise. Further, the majority of Oak's existing resources will be accessible in the meantime to ensure that teachers are able to manage their workload and deliver a world-class curriculum over this academic year. 

I can assure you that this decision was taken by the Department for Education following careful consideration. As an integral part of the process, the Department produced a business case on setting up Oak National Academy as an ALB. This business case was published on GOV.UK on 1 November 2022: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/oak-national-academy-business-case.

Further, I am aware that colleagues in the Department have met with various trade organisations in the sector on a number of occasions to share thinking, including a series of webinars, and the Department continues to engage with stakeholders on this issue.