Teaching activity

In the News Teaching Activity – has spending on education been high enough? (June 2024)

Elizabeth Veal

20th June 2024

The IFS are looking at key areas of government spending in the run up to the General Election and this report focuses on education and school spending

Although pupil numbers are set to fall soon, the costs of providing education may not fall as rapidly. Over half of school budgets goes on teachers’ pay and according to the IFS the average real pay for teachers is already 10% less when comparing 2023-24 to 2010-11. Government data shows teacher recruitment was 38% below their target last year and the TES suggests teachers will need a 4.1% increase in real pay to prevent shortages. Rising food and energy prices have also upped the running costs of schools. There has been a 60% increase in pupils with the highest level of special educational needs increasing the funds needed to support them. The pandemic meant that more pupils need support to catch-up on education missed. On top of that, there does not appear to have been sufficient spending on the schools’ infrastructure, highlighted last Autumn by the issue with RAAC in schools making them prone to collapse. The government after the election could have to make some difficult choices about education spending, but harnessing the social benefits of education is important for the economy.

School spending in England: a guide to the debate during the 2024 general election | Institute for Fiscal Studies (ifs.org.uk)

1 Explain the likely external benefits of greater consumption of school education. Use an MSC-MSB diagram to show why the government provides education free at the point of use and sets a school leaving age.

2 Using a labour market diagram, analyse why the average teacher pay is higher than the average teaching assistant pay (using the ASHE data in Table 2).

3 Discuss the benefits and costs of increasing spending on education at a faster pace than the long run averages (see Table 1) for primary and secondary education

Download our suggested answers for this resource here

Elizabeth Veal

Liz has taught Economics for over 25 years, including several years as Head of Economics at leading schools.

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