A girl in a school uniform stands in front of a whiteboard, smiling at her tutor who is holding a tablet

School funding cuts continue


  • Time to read: 5 minutes

Here are my key takeouts from the Sutton Trust’s latest teacher survey.

It was really interesting to read The Sutton Trust’s annual survey of almost 1300 teachers. The report looks at school funding, where school leaders are spending their budgets and where they’re having to cut back. The cost-of-living crisis continues to have a huge impact on school budgets, with schools continuing to cut back on items or activities due to financial pressures. 

There are a few things from the report which really stood out to me, especially as we look ahead to the next academic year and also consider what the tutoring landscape will look like once the National Tutoring Programme (NTP) ends in August. 

  • 1282

    teachers surveyed by The Sutton Trust

    Sutton Trust Annual Teacher Survey 2024

  • 47 %

    school leaders using Pupil Premium for general funds

    Sutton Trust Annual Teacher Survey 2024

Pupil Premium plugging funding gaps

Something that made particularly stark reading to me is the fact that the number of school leaders who state that they are using Pupil Premium funding to plug gaps in their general budget is now at its highest level since the question was first introduced to the survey in 2017.   

What this means is that the young people that this funding was introduced to specifically to help are now likely to be disproportionately impacted by these cuts. This funding was intended to provide additional support specifically to underserved young people. The lack of general funding also means that they now won’t have access to enriching and cultural activities and experiences, which they may only have had access to through school. This is undoubtedly going to see the attainment gap between young people from lower-income communities and their wealthier peers – currently at its highest ever level – increase further.  

Schools' use of NTP

The report also looks at how school leaders are currently using their NTP funding. The overall number of school leaders using NTP funding is very slightly down year-on-year (47% vs 52% in 2023) which is to be expected given that the subsidy decreased from 60% to 50% at the start of the 2023/2024 academic year. The decrease is driven by primary schools, which reflects what we’ve seen and the fact that primary budgets are feeling especially squeezed. In secondary schools, the percentage of schools using NTP funding is higher than in 2023 (58% vs 56%).  

The significant proportion of schools still using NTP funding really shows the scale of the potential impact that closing the scheme will have. Again, this will hit underserved young people hardest, limiting access to high-quality, impactful tutoring which wealthier families have the means to pay for privately."
Ed Marsh

I'm optimistic about the future

Thankfully, the generosity of our funders means that we can continue to work together with schools to provide affordable tutoring, despite the lack of funding available from the government. As a charity, our priority will always be to support young people and to strive for a more equitable education system. Looking ahead to the upcoming election, we’ll continue to push for tutoring to be on party manifestos. I sincerely hope that the current and future government look to increase the funding available for schools as a matter of urgency, in order to create a brighter outlook not only for young people currently in education, but for the future benefit of the country and its economy as a whole.  

A pupil is smiling and looking eagerly at the tutor during a tuition session.

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