Education spending (of which EdTech such as Promethean interactive displays and teaching software is just one area) is one of the most important things that taxpayer money goes towards, from early years nurseries to post-16 education.

But with funding for schools being controlled by individual local authorities, which parts of the country are investing the most into the future of their youngsters?

We’ve analysed the latest government spending data to find out, as well as highlighting the areas where spending has increased and decreased the most in the last five years.

The areas spending the most per pupil

It’s clear that it’s pupils in London who enjoy the greatest funding in the country, with eight of the top ten highest-spending areas located in the capital, with Islington being the highest, at £8,105 per pupil.

Specifically, it was those boroughs in Inner London which most commonly had a high level of spending, with Islington followed by the likes of Lewisham, Tower Hamlets, Camden, and Hackney, likely due to the higher salaries of teachers, but also due to increased social deprivation in these areas.

The only two areas from outside London in the top ten were Knowsley (£6,106 per pupil), on Merseyside, and North Tyneside (£5,751 per pupil), in the North East.

Rank

Local authority Region Net education expenditure Number of pupils Net expenditure per pupil
1 Islington London £207,326,000 25,581 £8,105
2 Lewisham London £319,679,000 41,825 £7,643
3 Tower Hamlets London £363,955,000 48,127 £7,562
4 Camden London £218,195,000 32,371 £6,740
5 Hackney London £276,922,000 42,659 £6,492
6 Knowsley North West £126,748,000 20,757 £6,106
7 Barking & Dagenham London £264,106,000 44,517 £5,933
8 North Tyneside North East £179,805,000 31,264 £5,751
9 Merton London £188,987,000 33,133 £5,704
10 Lambeth London £227,356,000 40,043 £5,678

The areas spending the least per pupil

Interestingly, despite previously highlighting that spending per pupil is much higher in London than in other parts of the country, two London boroughs fell into the ten areas with the lowest spend per pupil too: Bromley (£1,599 per person) and Bexley (£1,599 per person).

The area with the lowest spend was England’s smallest county, Rutland and while this can perhaps partially be attributed to the area’s very low population (just under 8,000 pupils, the third-lowest in the country), the county still comes bottom when we take pupil numbers into account as well.

Other authorities that fall into the bottom ten are relatively spread around the country in areas such as Humberside (Kingston upon Hull and North East Lincolnshire), Essex (Thurrock and Southend-on-Sea), North Somerset, Bournemouth and Northamptonshire.

Rank Local authority Region Net education expenditure Number of pupils Net expenditure per pupil
1 Rutland East Midlands £11,881,000 7,980 £1,489
2 Bromley London £91,668,000 57,317 £1,599
3 Kingston upon Hull Yorkshire & the Humber £71,949,000 43,196 £1,666
4 North East Lincolnshire Yorkshire & the Humber £42,656,000 24,539 £1,738
5 Thurrock East £54,043,000 29,824 £1,812
6 Southend-on-Sea East £57,155,000 31,216 £1,831
7 North Somerset South West £59,726,000 31,909 £1,872
8 Bexley London £89,121,000 44,645 £1,996
9 Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole South West £110,541,000 54,078 £2,044
10 Northamptonshire East Midlands £262,122,000 125,484 £2,089

The areas where spending has increased the most

We also looked at how the total spending on education has changed over the last five years and again, it was London boroughs which came top of the tree.

Five London boroughs fell in the top ten areas with the biggest spending increase, with Hillingdon increasing the most, from £162 million in 2014-15, to just under £195 million in 2019-29, an increase of 20%.

In fact, each of the top ten areas was found in the South, with the sole exception being Sandwell, in the West Midlands, which saw a five-year increase of 14.45%.

Rank Local authority Region 2014-15 net expenditure 2019-20 net expenditure Five-year change
1 Hillingdon London £162,093,000 £194,627,000 20.07%
2 Richmond upon Thames London £115,362,000 £138,123,000 19.73%
3 Hampshire South East £780,970,000 £913,248,000 16.94%
4 Buckinghamshire South East £313,091,000 £362,434,000 15.76%
5 West Berkshire South East £97,645,000 £112,888,000 15.61%
6 Hounslow London £174,699,000 £200,346,000 14.68%
7 Sandwell West Midlands £238,286,000 £272,712,000 14.45%
8 Kingston upon Thames London £90,658,000 £102,378,000 12.93%
9 Barking & Dagenham London £234,447,000 £264,106,000 12.65%
10 Gloucestershire South West £286,468,000 £319,470,000 11.52%

The areas where spending has decreased the most

However, those areas where spending has increased are in the minority, with overall education expenditure falling in just under a third (63%) of local authorities.

Aside from the Isles of Scilly, which are something of an outlier due to their very low population, the area where spending has decreased the most is Kingston upon Hull, which saw expenditure drop by half in the last five years.

For that reason, it’s perhaps no surprise that Hull and two other authorities in the bottom ten (North Somerset and Southend-on-Sea), also fell into the list of areas with the lowest spend per pupil.

Rank Local authority Region 2014-15 net expenditure 2019-20 net expenditure Five-year change
1 Isles of Scilly South West £3,772,000 £894,000 -76.30%
2 Kingston upon Hull Yorkshire & the Humber £144,916,000 £71,949,000 -50.35%
3 North Somerset South West £115,699,000 £59,726,000 -48.38%
4 Southend-on-Sea East £110,104,000 £57,155,000 -48.09%
5 Rotherham Yorkshire & the Humber £168,254,000 £99,619,000 -40.79%
6 Redcar & Cleveland North East £91,179,000 £56,087,000 -38.49%
7 Staffordshire West Midlands £531,183,000 £340,058,000 -35.98%
8 Middlesbrough North East £96,395,000 £62,309,000 -35.36%
9 Suffolk East £407,131,000 £280,253,000 -31.16%
10 Plymouth South West £124,712,000 £85,897,000 -31.12%

Methodology

Education expenditure for 2014-15 and 2019-20 was sourced from the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government’s local authority revenue expenditure and financing data collection.

The expenditure refers to the total net expenditure for early years education, primary schools, secondary schools, special schools and alternative education, post-16 education and other education and community budget. Note that due to changes in the structure of some local authorities in the last five years, some areas were omitted.

Pupil numbers were sourced from the Department for Education’s schools, pupils and their characteristics statistics 2019/20, and refer to the total number of pupils in all state-funded schools (aged 3-19).

Want to speak to someone about your EdTech spending?

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