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School budgets

​​​​​​​Section 251 budget statement (previously known as S52)


Local Authorities are required under section 52 of the Schools Standards and Framework Act 1998 to prepare and submit an education budget statement not later than 31 March each year for the prescribed period to the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families.  The prescribed period for the last  budget statement covers 2008-09 to 2010-11.  Separate regulations and guidance apply to the preparation of an outturn statement (as detailed below).

Purpose of financial statements

It is a statutory duty that local authorities must publish their budget statements as and when prescribed by the section 52 and section 230 Regulations.

The size of the Schools Budget (SB), and the amounts to be allocated to each factor depend on budget decisions taken by the local authority before the prescribed period, so budget statements are the means of informing schools and the public in general about the funding plans of the local authorities. The 'Scheme for financing schools' provides more information.

Scheme for financing schools (612kb pdf)​

​The copy of the statement that schools receive for that period is intended to provide a clear picture of the authority's planned spending:
  • How much the local authority intends to spend on the local authority budget outside the Schools Budget
  • How much the local authority is proposing to retain centrally within the Schools Budget for school services
  • How the local formula is working to produce budget shares for each school in the local authority’s area

It is important that schools forums and others can compare funding and methodology between different local authorities, so as to inform debate about budget levels and such issues as the balance of funding between nursery, primary, secondary and special schools.  It is therefore essential that all statements are prepared to a common format.

Content of financial statements

Budget statements must be presented in eight parts, giving the following information for the year in question:

The Schools Bu​dget summary table

Provides an account of the main sources of funding available to local authorities for their schools and any additional funding provided by the local authority.

T​able 1

This table provides an overall picture of the funding being allocated direct to schools, the amount being spent on education centrally and the amount being spent on children’s services provision.

Central Expenditure Limit A​nnex to Table 1

This table is designed to demonstrate that the local authority is complying with the limit on increases in central expenditure within the Schools Budget.

Youth Service Exp​enditure Annex to Table 1

This table provides a breakdown of the local authority’s planned expenditure on its Youth Service.

Early Years Summary Anne​x to Table 1

This is a new table which provides details of the local authority's planned expenditure of how the free entitlement for early education for 3 and 4 year old funding is allocated.

Table 2: School level information ​summary

This table is linked to Table 3.  It summarises the main formula funding elements and lists the budget share and the per pupil or place share in each school. 

Tabl​​e 3a

Detailed School level information:  This table shows in detail how the local authority's formula (described in Table 4) has been applied to each school to calculate its budget share, including all the relevant factors and lump sums, and the numbers of pupils in each school year used to allocate pupil-led funding. 

Tabl​e 4

Funding Factors:  The local authority  is required to set out the detail of every formula factor.  Each school must be able to relate its own budget share back to the items set out in this part.  The local authority must therefore include a complete list of all the factors and values in their formula and details of the funds allocated across all schools according to each factor.

Financial s​t​​atem​ents

Section 52 Outturn St​atement


Local Authorities are required under section 52 of the Sch​ool Standards and Framework Act 199​​8 to prepare a budget outturn statement after the end of that financial year. 

Purpose of financial stat​​eme​nts

The statement is in​tended to:​​​

  • Provide schools, parents and others with an interest in education with details about schools and LEA funding and expenditure
  • Provide data for the Departmental Annual Report (DAR)
  • Inform policy making
  • Inform the Treasury for monitoring purposes
  • Inform Parliament in its role of monitoring the Department’s accountability for public funds.  MPs ask about school and authority expenditure via the mechanisms of Parliamentary Questions or through the Education Select Committee.

It is important that schools forums and others have finance data available to them to inform debate about differing levels of expenditure between LEAs and between schools.  It is therefore essential that all statements are prepared to a common format.

Format and content of st​​ateme​​nts

Summary Table -​ Reconcil​​iation of the Dedicated Schools Grant/ Budget and Outturn

This table captures information relating to the spending of the Dedicated Schools Grant. 

Table A

A number of lines have been aligned to either the Schools or LEA budget according to descriptions in the Budget Table 1.

Spending by schools and LEA information is also linked with the collection of Consistent Financial Reporting (CFR) data from schools. 

The second part is the ‘Spending by LEA within the Schools Budget’ excluding delegated or devolved funding.  The third part is the section for LEA central functions.  It is split to show Central Administration and Support and Access sub-totals. The fourth part is the Youth and Community element of the table.

The Youth Servic​e A​nnex

Relates to expenditure on the LEA’s Youth Service.  The annex provides a further break down of expenditure shown at line 95 of Table A.

Ta​b​​le B

This table is School level information.  It provides a summary of individual schools’ expenditure in respect of the financial year in question.

Outturn stateme​nt​s​​


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