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Handy guides that demystify effective financial management and help you to balance the books. 


The DfE’s £370m budget error on the 2024-25 National Funding Formula – what has happened and what does it mean for your school?

On Friday 6 October 2023, the Department for Education (DfE) announced that it had made an error in the calculation of the National Funding Formula (NFF) for 2024-25, and the NFF was republished to correct this.

NAHT has made very clear that this mistake means that many schools, already facing tight budgets, which had worked on the tables published in July may now need to revise their planning.

Does this announcement affect my school’s current funding?

No. It affects funding for 2024-25. Maintained schools receive this funding from April 2024; academy schools and trusts receive it from September 2024.

What did the DfE get wrong?

The DfE made an error that underestimated its forecast calculation of pupil numbers for 2024-25.

As a result, the NFF tables published by DfE in July contained incorrect factor weightings, based on the underestimate of pupil numbers.

The DfE has apologised for the error and the permanent secretary has written to the Education Select Committee.

What is the effect of the miscalculation of pupil numbers?

The incorrect forecast of pupil numbers meant that the factor weightings were wrong. If applied, the cost of the Core Schools Budget (£59.6bn) would have been 0.62% greater than the budget that DfE will receive. 

The DfE has recalculated the factor weightings to keep the Core Schools Budget in line with the £59.6bn funding it has received from the Treasury. Revised tables and a revised schools operational guide were published on 6 October.

Does this affect any funding that my school has already received?

No. This only affects the allocation of the Core Schools Budget through the NFF for 2024-25.

Has the DfE cut the Core Schools Budget for 2024-25?

No.  The total sum to be spent through the Core Schools Budget for 2024-25 remains £59.6bn

How will the corrections affect per-pupil funding in 2024-25?

NAHT has engaged with officials to understand the impact of the corrections to the NFF. Officials estimate that:

  • average per pupil funding was set to rise by about 2.75% using the NFF tables published in July
  • average per pupil funding is now set to rise by about 1.9% using the revised NFF tables, published on 6 October
  • if the Teachers’ Pay Additional Grant is taken into account alongside the uplift to the NFF (using the October tables) the expected combined impact on average per pupil funding will be a rise of over 2.5%.

Individual schools will see their actual allocations in December.

Will this affect the timing of the publication of the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG)?

No. The DfE says this will be published in December, providing schools with their final allocations for 2024-25.

Does this affect the High Needs elements of the Core Schools Budget for 2024-25?


Does this affect the Teachers’ Pay Additional Grant (TPAG), announced in the summer to support the 2023 pay award?

No. The NFF calculations were not used to determine affordability of the pay award.

What has NAHT said publicly?

We issued a press release on Friday afternoon

Paul Whiteman said:

“Today’s announcement that the DfE has incorrectly calculated the national funding formula for 2024-25 speaks volumes about the chaos at the heart of government.  School leaders will be rightly angry that basic accounting errors may force them to rethink already tight budgets as a result of the erroneous figures they were provided.  Many may now have to revisit crucial decisions around staffing or support for pupils as budgets are reduced. 

“Rushed announcements about half-baked policy initiatives, such as mobile phone bans or overhauling 16-18 education, without any consultation with the sector are worrying enough but how can school leaders have confidence in headline-grabbing policy developments if they can’t even trust their budget allocations.’ 


First published 09 October 2023