Changes to school funding

On 21 July 2016, the government announced the pending changes that would soon be implemented regarding school funding and that it would no longer be based upon historical records. The process will proceed over stages, the first of which focuses on consultations on a national funding formula for schools and high needs.  These results were published in March 2016, with the resulting feedback currently being analysed.  This response will be published in Autumn and until then, Education Secretary Justine Greening has made a short announcement indicating the effects these changes will have. 

Decisions to finalise plans will be made in early 2017, with implementation beginning in 2018 and giving schools until 2019 to apply the new system.  

Key aspects in the responses to the first stage included the need for stability and fairness. The government have assured that local authorities will not receive a cut in their 2017-18 funding in comparison with 2016-17. Uplifts for high needs will still be granted later in the year and a published table shows authorities how funding is calculated.  

The October 2016 Census will provide the pupil information required on which to base the December allocations for schools and high needs. Greening indicated that she is setting things in motion so that local authorities can start allocating budgets to local schools, which can be included in the next financial year.

Minimum funding guarantees will also be maintained, with the government pledging the maximum reduction of funding received from the local authority will be set at 1.5% per pupil next year.  “Proposals to create a new central schools block, allow[ing] local flexibility on the minimum funding guarantee to or ring-fence the schools block within the dedicated schools grant” will be postponed until 2018 to 2019 “and beyond”. This is to allow for local authorities to have certainty when beginning to budget for the following two academic years. Should you wish to keep updated on this, the responses to the blocks and other matters covered in the first stage will be discussed in the autumn consultation.


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