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School funding in England

Our 2016 report Financial sustainability of schools found that, on the basis of the Department for Education’s (the Department) planned funding at that time, schools would need to find significant savings to counteract cost pressures caused mainly by rising pupil numbers and increases in staff costs.

Since 2016, governments have increased funding for schools and the Department has provided additional support to help schools improve their financial sustainability. The Department has also implemented a new national funding formula through which it aims to give schools more certainty about future funding and to make the system fairer, funding schools based on need.

This study will examine whether the Department is distributing funding and supporting schools in a way that improves financial sustainability, including whether it:

  • has increased school funding in real terms and in a way that takes account of cost pressures;
  • is distributing funding for schools in line with its objectives; and
  • is supporting schools effectively to improve their financial positions.