EPI response to Spending Review: Extra funding for education recovery welcome, but fails to respond to the scale of pupil learning loss 

Analysis from the Education Policy Institute (EPI) following this afternoon’s Spending Review announcement finds that government funding to support education recovery from the pandemic falls short of the level required to address pupil learning losses. 

EPI research has found that a total funding package of around £13.5bn over three years will be required from the government to effectively address learning losses in England, which in turn are likely to adversely affect pupils’ future earnings and the economy. 

Prior to today, total government funding for pandemic education recovery stood at £3.1bn in England between 2020-21 and 2024-25 – around £310 per pupil in total.

Following today’s Spending Review announcement, total funding for education recovery now stands at £4.9bn, or around £490 per pupil. 

Despite today’s increase of around £1.8bn, funding for education recovery in England is still significantly less than the level of funding committed by other developed nations. EPI analysis has found that education catch-up plans in the Netherlands amount to around £2,100 per pupil, while those in the United States amount to around £1,800 per pupil. 


Responding to the Spending Review and the Chancellor’s announcements on education recovery, Whitney Crenna-Jennings, Associate Director at the Education Policy Institute (EPI), said: 

“We know from our research that pupils have experienced considerable learning losses as a result of the pandemic, with those from disadvantaged backgrounds suffering greater losses than their peers. Additional funding from the government to support pupils’ recovery now stands at around £4.9bn – that’s around £490 per pupil. While this extra investment to support pupils is a positive development, it’s still some way off the £13.5bn that our research has shown is needed to reverse the damage done to children’s education.”


David Laws, Executive Chairman of the Education Policy Institute (EPI), said: 

“While additional funding to support education recovery is welcome, this funding is only a quarter of the level of investment committed by other rich countries, such as the US and the Netherlands. We need to see the government go much further to address the huge scale of learning losses, and to support those pupils who have been hit the hardest, particularly those from poorer backgrounds and those in parts of the north of England and the Midlands.

“The government have announced that there will be increased spending on schools, but our analysis shows that this will only bring real-terms funding levels to around the same as those seen in 2010. That per pupil funding will be no higher than it was almost a decade and a half ago cannot be regarded as an ambitious funding settlement.”