Education spending by some Scottish councils cut by twenty per cent

Spending on education by some councils in Scotland has dropped by up to 20 per cent over six years, according to a new report.

The National Benchmarking Overview Report 2016-17 which is compiled by local authorities shows that, since 2010-11, real-terms spending per primary and secondary pupil has fallen by 9.6 per cent and 2.9 per cent respectively, which translates as £513 less per primary pupil and £205 less per secondary pupil.

There are differences in spending across Scotland, however. While some councils have cut spending by as much as a fifth, others have upped their education budgets by 7.8 per cent in real terms between 2010-11 and 2016-17.

The average spend per primary pupil last year was £4,804; at secondary level, the per-pupil spend was £6,817. The report highlighted “a considerable” variation between councils, “particularly for secondary education”. 

In primary education, costs ranged from £4,105 per pupil in Edinburgh to £8,394 per pupil in the Western Isles (£4,105 to £5,775 excluding islands, which tend to spend more on education due their remoteness).

For secondary schools, the range was £5,844 per pupil in Renfrewshire to £11,968 per pupil in Orkney (£5,844 to £8,433 excluding islands).

Overall, the report said that there had been real reductions in the education budget of almost 3.8 per cent since 2010-11 across Scotland’s 32 local authorities.

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