School funding formula changes

School funding formula changes threaten to make “a bad situation worse” for the provision of essential classroom resources

The British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA), which represents almost 400 UK-based education suppliers, cautioned that proposed changes to the National Funding Formula could lead to “unsustainable” cuts in essential classroom resources for pupils.

BESA today revealed that its quarterly “barometer” of headteacher expenditure shows that many heads are already making substantial cuts in expenditure in 2016, compared to the previous year:

  • Overall spending on resources in secondary schools is down 6.7% in secondary schools year-on-year, and down 3.7% year-on-year in primary schools. This amounts to a 4.9% decline in 2016, compared to three years of growth previously (2013: 3.8%, 2014: 4.4%, 2015: 1.3%)
  • In ICT, 36% of secondary school heads are spending less than in 2015. This amounts to a 6.4% year-on-year decline, compared to a 3.0% increase in 2015. 29% of primary heads are spending less than in 2015. This amounts to a 3% year-on-year decline, compared to a 3.7% increase in 2015.
  • For non-ICT resources, 42% of primary school heads are spending less, which amounts to a 4.2% year-on-year decline, compared to a 1.8% increase in 2015. 27% of secondary school heads are spending less, amounting to a 6.5% year-on-year decline.

BESA’s Director General, Caroline Wright said that: “While the government is certainly making some effort to ring-fence money for resources, such as for Maths Mastery, it’s clear that many schools are already struggling to find money for essential equipment for the classroom.

“More steps need to be taken to ensure that the new national funding formula doesn’t impact upon the quality of lessons being delivered, due to a perceived need to cut back on textbooks, EdTech and teaching materials alike, and make a bad situation worse. At a time of major curriculum change, and unprecedented innovations in education technology, this has never been more important.”


BESA’s directors and a wide range of members are available for comment. To discuss this story further, contact: Mark Rosser mark@besa.org.uk / +44(0)20 7537 4997

BESA’s barometer is undertaken by C3 Education and surveys a panel of head teachers from the National Education Research Panel, who are requested to provide an indication of the state of the UK education resources market. 332 schools responded. The scheme has been operating for six years and provides a quarterly review of current market performance and the outlook for the rest of the calendar year.

About BESA:

BESA, the British Educational Suppliers Association, is the trade association covering the entirety of the UK educational suppliers sector. It operates on a not-for-profit basis, and is accountable to an Executive Council that is elected by member companies.

It has an 80-year heritage serving the UK education sector, and represents almost 400 educational suppliers in the UK, including manufacturers and distributors of equipment, materials, books, consumables, furniture, technology, ICT hardware and EdTech to the education market.

BESA has a Code of Practice to which all members must adhere, along with a stringent membership process, both of which assure schools of a high standard of quality.

For more information, visit: www.besa.org.uk