The Department for Education (DfE) has published the funding it will allocate to local authorities for mainstream schools in the 2022-23 financial year, based on the National Funding Formula (NFF) for schools.

These are provisional and notional funding allocations. They are subject to revision and are not necessarily what schools will actually receive.

This Insight looks at the change in these allocations compared to the previous year. Our calculations have found that there are schools which could have real term declines in total per pupil funding in 2022-23.

Our interactive dashboard (below) allows you to compare average per pupil funding in your constituency with others and identify schools in your constituency that could have an annual increase or decrease (in real terms), in funding.

What has the DfE published?

The allocations are core funding for five to 16-year-olds in mainstream schools, which includes the Teachers’ Pay Grant and funding for teachers’ pensions. The allocations exclude other types of school funding, such as the pupil premium, high needs funding, and funding for sixth formers. It also excludes exceptional funding related to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The DfE publishes the amounts it will allocate to local authorities for individual mainstream schools based on the NFF, on an annual basis. The most recent allocations are for 2022-23.

We have used these school-level allocations to build up constituency and national figures for the dashboard below.

For 2022-23, the average allocation per pupil in England is £5,212 (adjusted for economy-wide inflation). This is a 2.8% increase in cash terms compared to 2021-22, and a 0.1% increase in real terms.

These figures exclude some schools, such as those that are new, split, amalgamated, have fewer than 35 pupils, or are closed or proposed to close.

Why are these funding allocations provisional and notional?

The 2022-23 NFF allocations are subject to revision and are not necessarily what schools will actually receive.

The NFF calculates the funding allocations based on pupil numbers, and various pupil and school characteristics. The 2022-23 allocations are provisional because they are based on pupil data from 2021-22 and will be updated.

The 2022-23 allocations are notional because the NFF is currently in a transition phase (known as the ‘soft’ format). This means local authorities retain some flexibility in deciding the final allocations that individual schools actually receive.

For 2022-23, the DfE requires all local authorities to pass on at least £4,265 per primary school pupil, and £5,525 per secondary school pupil, although there may be exceptions to this requirement.

This is a 2.0% increase in cash terms compared to the minimums in 2021-22, but a 0.7% decrease in real terms.

How are schools funded?

The Government pays an annual Dedicated Schools Grant to local authorities. This is made up of several “blocks”.

The Schools Block is known as the core funding and is one part of this. It excludes high needs funding, early years funding, the pupil premium, and funding for sixth formers.

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 based on DfE guidance.

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

For 2022-23 the Government has committed to give schools an increase in their pupil-led funding of at least 2.0% per pupil (in 2021-22 it made the same commitment). This is below the Office for Budget Responsibility’s most recent inflation projection of 2.7% using the GDP deflator.

It should also be noted this only covers the funding that changes with pupil numbers. It does not cover funding allocated under the NFF that doesn’t change with pupil numbers (known as school-led funding).

A school’s total per pupil funding is calculated based on both its pupil-led and school-led funding.

Our calculations have found that despite the Government’s funding floor commitment, there are around 9,500 schools which in 2022-23 could have real term declines in total per pupil funding.

How will schools in my constituency be affected?

For a constituency breakdown of the real terms change in per pupil NFF allocations in 2022-23 (compared to 2021-22), please select a constituency from the dropdown below.

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All real terms figures are in 2021-22 prices. Adjusted for economy-wide inflation (not a school specific measure).

NFF allocations are notional and provisional 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 which are new, amalgamated, split, have less than 35 pupils, are closed or proposed to close have been excluded.

Schools have been assigned a constituency based on the DfE tool, Get Information About Schools.


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

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