Rapid rises in school costs means budgets 'stagnate in real terms'

Costs in schools are rising faster than inflation in the wider economy leading to “stagnating” budgets despite increased government funding.
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Schools have been particularly affected by “rapid rises” in energy and food prices and have also been hit hard by rises in support staff pay and higher than expected rises in pupil numbers.

An analysis from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) says that this outpacing of general inflation levels will result in school budgets “stagnating in real terms after 2022/23”.

The report (Sibieta, 2023) says that with current increases to school funding, real-terms spending per-pupil in England should finally have been higher in 2024 compared to 2010 – after adjusting for economy-wide inflation.

These increases include a £7bn rise in annual school funding by 2024/25 (pledged at the 2021 Spending Review), an extra £2bn a year in the 2022 Autumn Statement, as well as £800m announced in September this year to cover the teachers’ pay settlement.

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