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Fix School Funding

The issue

  • There has been 15 years with no overall growth in  school spending. This squeeze on school resources is effectively without precedent in post-war UK history.
  • Schools are now facing new and significant cost pressures e.g. surging energy prices, covid-related costs, falling primary pupil numbers, the National Insurance increase, and pressures due to significant underfunding of SEND.
  • Changes to the government’s national funding formula (NFF) have seen a redistribution of funding away from schools serving the most deprived communities in recent years.
  • Funding for pupils with special educational needs (SEND) is in crisis, with overall High Needs budget deficits estimated to be more than £2billion and growing
  • The value of pupil premium funding designed to support the most disadvantaged pupils has fallen in real-terms since 2015.
  • The government has only invested a small fraction of the covid recovery funding that its own recovery commissioner said would be required.
  • Between 2009-10 and 2021-22, capital spending declined by 25% in cash terms, and 29% when adjusted for inflation.
  • Specific types of schools including small schools and maintained nursery schools remain under extreme financial pressure and many of facing the real risk of closure.


What we want to see

  • The government needs to be more ambitious for schools and set out a proper funding plan that addresses the 15 funding squeeze.
  • The government needs to offer more support for schools experiencing severe financial pressures as a result of rising energy costs.
  • The government should set out a proper long-term capital funding plan to bring all schools up to ‘good’ condition.
  • The government should commit to a truly ambitious recovery plan based on the work of its own recovery commissioner.
  • The government should commit to at least restoring pupil premium funding in real-term terms, and increasing the Early Years Pupil Premium to reach parity with the primary pupil premium.
  • A consultation on the long-term future of the approach to maintained nursery school funding should be launched without delay.
  • The government must use the ling-awaited SEND review to develop a truly needs-led approach to SEND funding.
  • Sufficient and sustainable funding for small schools.


What we want you to do


Our conference motion

“Conference instructs National Executive to develop a national fair funding campaign to press government  to provide a sufficient overall level of funding to meet the needs of all pupils, through the national funding formula and the high needs national funding formula. This is required now to enable schools to set budgets from 2022-2023. It would allow them to meet all their statutory responsibilities and provide an extended curriculum offer that supports all children and young people to thrive academically, socially, physically and spiritually.

Conference further instructs National Executive to campaign for an increase in capital funding that will address the nation’s decrepit school estate, to ensure that school buildings and grounds are safe, fit for purpose and appropriate for the needs of the 21st century.”

Useful links

MP roundtable resources

Other useful links

Relevant articles and reports



SEND and AP members: tell us how the government offer affects you

During pay and funding talks, NAHT pressed the government to give specific attention to the impact that the current pay offer and funding arrangements will have for special schools and alternative provision (AP) settings in particular.

Throughout the talks with the Department for Education (DfE), all the unions repeatedly highlighted the unique nature of special schools and AP, and urged the government to be mindful of the specific ongoing financial pressures they are facing.

Since the government’s announcement last week, we have again pressed this issue with the DfE and argued the points being raised by our members.

To help us continue this work, we need to hear from members in special schools or AP who believe the funding they will receive will fall significantly short of the 3% they should expect. These anonymised case studies will be an important part of our work in this area.

If you feel able to help with this, we will need the following information (on an anonymised basis):

  • The number of places in your school
  • Your teaching and leadership bill for seven months of the year (this should only include those subject to the STPCD and paid on the teaching and leadership scales)
  • The allocation you expect to receive in the first payment from the government, and your calculation for what percentage of your seven-month bill you have calculated this to represent.

To provide that information, email us at policy@naht.org.uk.

As you will be aware, the funding rate announced was £260 per place, plus any relevant area cost adjustment.

Please be aware that we will not be able to reply to every email we receive, but they will all be read and considered carefully by the team as part of our ongoing work in this area.

First published 20 July 2023