How mainstream schools in the UK are funded

Mainstream schools funding comes from several different sources, and we outline some of them on this page.

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General schools funding (general annual grant)

The general annual grant is a dedicated schools grant paid direct to the school from central government on these dates:

Academies and free schools

Every month, equal payments are made on the first working day of the month

Local authority maintained schools

Schools can choose equal monthly payments or three payments per academic year, usually 40% in April, 35% in September, and 25% in January. 

Schools funding- PE & sports premium payments

These payments are designed in mind of financing schools to improve PE, physical activity, and sport in their individual school.

Schools funding in the UK

This extra funding must also enhance school capacity and capability so that improvements made now are sustainable and benefit future students.

Unused funding can be carried over.

In schools with more than 17 pupils, PE & sports premium payments range from £8,000 to £500 a pupil.

They’re paid to local authorities first and transferred to schools on these dates:

Established academies and free schools

  • 7/12 of funding start of November
  • 5/12 of funding start of April

Established local authority maintained schools

  • 7/12 of funding end of October
  • 5/12 of funding end of April

Non-maintained special schools

  • 7/12 of funding start of February
  • 5/12 of funding start of May

New academies and free schools

  • 7/12 of funding start of February
  • 5/12 of funding start of May

New local authority maintained schools

  • 7/12 of funding end of January
  • 5/12 of funding end of April

Second installments are paid:

  • 30th April for maintained schools
  • 1st May for academies, free schools, CTCs, and non-maintained special schools

The only requirement needed for schools to carry forward unspent money is to give brief reasons for their under-spend on their online published report.

Schools funding- pupil premium payments

There is evidence that disadvantaged pupils have additional challenges reaching their potential at school and often do poorly.

Students from disadvantaged backgrounds benefit from additional pupil funding to help with any special educational need.

Central government pays the pupil premium direct to the school on these dates:

Academies and free schools end of:

  • June
  • September
  • December
  • March

Local authority maintained schools start of:

  • July
  • October
  • January
  • April

High needs payments

Children requiring High Needs Funding (HNF) will have substantial or severe difficulties in communication, cognitive development, social emotional health, and physical disability.

For every SEN support student whose provision exceeds £6,000 each year, schools must submit an online application. It is not a reimbursement of actual costs, but rather an additional resource to support a school in meeting the pupil’s high level of special educational needs.

All schools

Usually paid monthly by the local authority to the school.

Universal free school meals payments

Free school meals are available to children in reception, year 1 and year 2.

Included in this category is any child in maintained or free schools, academies, and special education schools.

There is no allocation to children at maintained nurseries, direct grant nurseries, independent schools, and general hospital schools.

Colleges and further education institutions now provide free meals to disadvantaged students as they do in schools.

All primary school pupils in years 1 and 2 receive funding of £2.34 per meal. There are additional sums available for smaller schools that cannot buy in bulk.

Schools funding from self-generated income

This includes:

  • income from facilities and services,
  • receipts from other insurance claims,
  • income from contributions to visits etc,
  • donations, and/or
  • private funds

In conclusion

This summary only scratches the surface of school funding.

In addition to the grants and payments listed here, there are many other benefits available to schools (including up to 80% in business rates rebates for academy schools and free schools).

This includes:

  • funding for young people in 6th form,
  • SEN funding,
  • funding for minority ethnic pupils,
  • standards fund,
  • other government grants,
  • other grants and payments,
  • SSG pupil focused,
  • young person-focused extended school funding and
  • additional grant for schools.

What do schools buy?

A school’s procurement policy should set the low and medium levels. In general:

  • low is under £10,000
  • medium is between £10,000 and £40,000

To make this kind of purchase, schools should:

  1. make a plan for evaluating bids,
  2. compare at least 3 quotes,
  3. fairly evaluate all quotes, and
  4. choose the best value supplier.

When schools get money in, they spend it on the following things:

  • back office costs
  • educational consultants & professionals
  • catering
  • education support staff
  • utilities (light, heat, power)
  • computers and IT
  • learning resources (books, courses, etc)
  • non-teaching staff costs
  • premises and facilities management
  • supply teachers
  • teachers directly employed
  • general expenditure

Marketing to different types of school with More Than Words

Get in touch with More Than Words Marketing

We offer school databases for direct marketing to companies that sell into educational establishments.

They are:

Please let us know what types of school you’d like to sell to and we’ll get back to you with a count and a quote.

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Please call 0330 010 8300 or click here to email our direct marketing and marketing databases team.

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