The Department for Education (DfE) has published the notional and provisional amounts the Government will give to local authorities for individual schools in 2020-21. These amounts have been calculated using the schools National Funding Formula (NFF).

This Insight looks at the impact of these allocations compared to the 2019-20 notional NFF allocations. Our interactive dashboard allows you to identify schools in your constituency that could attract an annual increase or decrease (in real terms), in per pupil funding.

What has been published?

On 11 October, the DfE published the notional and provisional amounts the Government will allocate to local authorities for individual schools. This is core funding for 5-16 year-olds in mainstream schools; it excludes other types of school funding such as the pupil premium, high needs funding and funding for sixth formers.

The NFF calculates notional funding allocations for schools based on pupil numbers, and various pupil and school characteristics. These allocations are provisional because they will be updated to take into account more recent pupil number data. They are notional because the NFF is currently in a transition phase (known as the ‘soft’ format). This means the local authority retains some flexibility in deciding the final allocations that schools actually receive.

For 2020-21, the DfE is planning to require all local authorities to pass on at least £3,750 per primary school pupil, and £5,000 per secondary school pupil, although there may be exceptions to this requirement.

Read: Planned changes to minimum school funding: Schools affected by constituency

How are schools currently funded?

The Schools Block (also known as core revenue funding for schools) is one part of the Dedicated Schools Grant, which is paid by the Government to local authorities on an annual basis. It excludes special educational needs funding, early years funding, and the pupil premium.

There is currently a two-stage process for allocating Schools Block funding in England:

  1. The DfE uses the NFF to produce notional allocations for individual schools. Each allocation is then checked against the minimum funding levels and increased if necessary. Following further adjustments, the final notional allocations are aggregated and passed to the schools’ local authority.
  2. The local authority then decides how that money is shared out between schools in its area, using its own funding formula.

What does the Government’s NFF funding floor commitment mean?

The Government has made several school funding commitments in recent months. One of which that, at the school level, the funding floor in the NFF will be set at +1.84%. This means that schools will be allocated an increase in their pupil-led funding of at least +1.84% per pupil (compared to schools’ 2019-20 notional NFF allocations). This is in line with predicted inflation.

It should be noted, however, that this only covers the funding that changes with pupil numbers (known as pupil-led funding, such as the basic per pupil unit of funding). It does not cover funding allocated under the NFF that doesn’t change with pupil numbers (known as school-led funding, such as the lump sum). A school’s total per pupil funding is calculated based on both its pupil-led and school-led funding.  

Our calculations have found that based on the current data available, there are schools which could attract real term declines in total per pupil funding. This happens when changes to a school’s school-led funding are not fully compensated by increases in pupil-led funding (at least +1.84% per pupil). The exact characteristics of the school and its pupils determines how this might happen. An example of this might be if a school has a large proportional increase in pupil numbers, but their school-led funding is not increased, and their pupil-led funding only increases by +1.84% per pupil. In such a scenario, the school’s total per pupil funding would decline in real terms.

What’s the impact on schools in my constituency?

For a constituency breakdown of the real terms change in per pupil NFF allocations in 2020-21 (compared to the 2019-20 notional NFF allocations), please select a constituency from the dropdown below.

Use the dropdown menu below to select the constituency you’re interested in and view key statistics.

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Real terms (2019-20 prices)

2020-21 notional NFF allocations have been compared to the 2019-20 notional NFF allocations.

NFF notional allocations are based on pupil numbers from the previous year and are therefore subject to revision.

Middle deemed secondary schools have been included as secondary schools, middle deemed primary schools have been included as primary schools.

All-through schools are excluded from primary and secondary school averages, they are included in all school averages

Schools have been assigned a constituency based on the DfE tool, GetInformationAboutSchools. In a small number of cases this designation has been manually changed to assign schools a constituency based on their coordinates.


About the author: Shadi Danechi is a statistics researcher at the House of Commons Library.