Between 2009-10 and 2019-20, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) estimate that school spending per pupil in England fell by 9% in real-terms. In the 2019 and 2021 Spending Review, the government allocated extra funding to schools and explicitly stated that this would restore spending per pupil to 2010 levels in real-terms by the end of the parliament in 2024-25. Unexpectedly high cost pressures on schools mean that the government is no longer on track to deliver on this objective.
Many factors are currently acting to increase the actual costs faced by schools, including increases in teacher salaries, support staff pay, and food and energy prices. At the same time, the normal measure of economy-wide inflation using to assess real-terms changes in public spending has become more volatile (and potentially more unreliable) in the aftermath of the pandemic.