The latest increase followed the rate being increased from £4,000 per student in 2019-20 to £4,542 per student in 2022-23. These increases have started to close the funding gap that opened up in 16-19 education funding between 2010 and 2020.
Funding for 16-19-year-olds fell by 14% in real terms between 2010-11 and 2014-15 (IFS briefing note) and 16-19 funding was only protected in cash terms between 2016 and 2020. This meant that total expenditure on 16-19 education fell by 21% in real terms between 2010-11 and 2017-18, while the funding allocated to 16-19 education fell by 17% in real terms between 2013-14 and 2018-19 (House of Common briefing paper). The Education Select Committee has estimated that across 16–19 education funding per student fell by a full 16% in real terms between 2010–11 and 2018–19.
The view of the Institute for Fiscal Studies in 2017 was that, “16–18 education spending has clearly been the relative loser from education spending changes over the last 25 years. It experienced larger cuts in the 1990s than other sectors, smaller increases during the 2000s and is currently experiencing the largest cuts.”
The cuts before 2015 included the following:
- a new funding formula from 2013;
- the funding rate for students who are already aged 18 was cut by 17.5 % in 2014;
- entitlement funding for activities such as tutorials, enrichment activities and additional courses was reduced from 114 hours per year to 30 hours in 2011.
On top of these cuts, entitlements for young people aged 16-19 were removed. Education Maintenance Allowances for students from low-income households that totalled £560 million were replaced in 2011 with a new bursary scheme of £180 million.