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8 October 2021

How the funding gap between state schools and private schools has dramatically widened

The gap between private and state school spending per pupil has rapidly grown since the Conservatives entered power in 2010.

By Ben Walker

Cuts to education spending since 2010 have dramatically widened the funding gap between state schools and private schools, a report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies has found. The funding change per pupil rapidly diverged after the last Labour government left office in 2010 and was replaced by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition, which reduced schools spending as part of its austerity programme. Only 7 per cent of children in the UK attend private schools.

Since then, state school funding per pupil relative to 2004 has decreased rapidly. In 2010, state school funding per pupil was 29 per cent higher than in 2004. In 2021, by contrast, it was just 15 per cent higher (compared with more than 50 per cent in the private sector). This represents a cut in state school funding per pupil between 2010 and 2021 of 14 percentage points.

As a consequence, the gap between average private and state school per pupil funding has increased from 39 per cent in 2009-10 to 90 per cent now.

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