The London boroughs where school children get the most and least spent on their education

Written by on May 28, 2021

The London boroughs where school children get the most and least spent on their education

Kids in Bromley have nearly £7,000 less spent on their education compared to pupils in Islington, new data shows

 

London’s school pupils could be missing out on nearly £7,000 a year in education funding depending on which borough they live in, new data has shown.

The capital’s pupils see some of the country’s highest amounts of funding for their school resources if they live in certain boroughs, while other boroughs see the country’s lowest funding levels.

Parents of school-age children often battle with a so-called ‘postcode lottery’ when it comes to getting their kids into better schools, but research into local government expenditure conducted by Promethean shows that the amount of financial resources accessible to pupils can vary wildly depending on where they live.

Promethean’s data, which is sourced from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s local authority revenue expenditure and financing data collection, found that eight London boroughs were among the country’s top ten areas for high education expenditure.

However, there were vast discrepancies between boroughs, with one London council having the second lowest education spend in the whole country.

How school funding works

Funding for schools is managed by individual local authorities (LAs), who receive a set budget from the government to divide up between schools dependent on their needs.

The National Funding Formula (NFF) determines how much money each LA gets to spend on schooling, and the borough then distributes their total government budget allocation between all the schools in the area.

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All schools get a basic amount for each pupil, and extra funding for pupils with additional needs. Funding also depends on levels of deprivation in the area, among other factors.

Schools also receive ‘school-led’ funding based on the characteristics of the school itself – such as extra funding if they have more than one site or are small and remote.

What the data shows

London pupils generally enjoy the greatest funding in the country, particularly those who live in Inner London boroughs.

In the year 2019-20, Islington Council had the highest per-pupil spend in the country – £8,105 was spent on each pupil’s education.

Eight London boroughs were among the top ten areas for education spend in the country

The top ten London boroughs for education expenditure were:

  1. Islington (£8,105)
  2. Lewisham (£7,643)
  3. Tower Hamlets (£7,562)
  4. Camden (£6,740)
  5. Hackney (£6,492)
  6. Barking and Dagenham (£5,933)
  7. Merton (£5,704)
  8. Lambeth (£5,678)
  9. Haringey (£5,363)
  10. Greenwich (£5,161)

Promethean says that this increased expenditure in inner city boroughs is likely due to the higher salaries of teachers, but also due to increased social deprivation in these areas – a key factor in determining how big a council’s education budget is.

Lowest in London, and second lowest in the country, was Bromley, where just £1,599 was spent per pupil in 2019-2020 – £6,506 less than Islington in the top spot.

Bexley wasn’t far behind with £1,996 spent per pupil – the eighth lowest in the country.

Bromley spends the least on education out of every local authority in the country

Below is the full data for per-pupil education spend in every London borough:

Position Borough Net expenditure per pupil (2019-20)
1 Islington £8,105
2 Lewisham £7,643
3 Tower Hamlets £7,562
4 Camden £6,740
5 Hackney £6,492
6 Barking & Dagenham £5,933
7 Merton £5,704
8 Lambeth £5,678
9 Haringey £5,363
10 Greenwich £5,161
11 Ealing £5,157
12 Southwark £4,715
13 Redbridge £4,688
14 Brent £4,608
15 Newham £4,579
16 Waltham Forest £4,349
17 Hounslow £4,233
18 Enfield £4,191
19 Wandsworth £4,139
20 Barnet £3,795
21 Hammersmith & Fulham £3,779
22 Havering £3,763
23 Harrow £3,707
24 Richmond upon Thames £3,548
25 Croydon £3,423
26 Hillingdon £3,422
27 Kensington & Chelsea £3,399
28 Kingston upon Thames £3,319
29 Westminster £3,090
30 Sutton £2,886
31 City of London £2,809
32 Bexley £1,996
33 Bromley £1,599

The ‘per-pupil spend’ includes pupils in early years education, primary schools, secondary schools, special schools and alternative education, and post-16 education. Pupil numbers included all pupils in state-funded schools, aged 3-19, for the year 2019-20.


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