School Funding and Pupil Premium Report

The Sutton Trust have published a report which shows the impact of the cost of living crisis on the financial pressures this is taking on school budgets.

The Sutton Trust surveyed 1,428 teachers. It reveals a sharp increase in cuts to a range of activities in schools, including cuts to school visits, along with difficulties in recruiting teachers.

  • The proportion of senior leaders reporting cuts to trips and outings has more than doubled since last year.
  • More than two-thirds (71%) of senior leaders report difficulties with recruiting teachers this year.
  • 2 in 5 heads report using their pupil premium funding to plug gaps in their general budgets.


Between 2022-23 the report shows areas cut for financial reasons in schools: 

Areas senior leaders report making cuts:20222023
Teaching assistants42%63%
Trips and outings21%50%
IT equipment27%42%
Sports and other extracurricular activities15%26%
Support staff33%40%

This table shows that the largest increase is in those cutting trips and outings, at 50%, compared to 21% last year. Reports of teaching assistants being cut has also seen a large increase, now at 63%, up from 42% last year. 

With the polling highlighting that 2 in 5 (41%) primary and secondary senior leaders are using their pupil premium – funding given to schools to support poorer pupils – to plug gaps in their general budget it is clear that pupil premium is not reaching the poorest pupils. 

Carl Cullinane, Director of Research and Policy at the Sutton Trust, said: 

'Funding for poorer pupils through the pupil premium is more important than ever in the context of these pressures. It is deeply concerning that increasing numbers of schools report having to use their pupil premium funding to plug budget gaps. It is vital that this funding is used to narrow the gaps in progress that have opened alarmingly in the wake of the pandemic.'

NSEAD members report on the high value and importance of visiting exhibitions and museums – and that learning outside of the classroom or studio can not only raise standards, but can be life changing for some of their most disadvantaged pupils. Members are also reporting that they are increasingly funding art and design equipment and materials themselves. Our members' feedback is clearly evidenced in a growing divide between advantaged and disadvantaged schools and pupils. On the back of the pandemic and now in a 'cost of living crisis', we call on the government to recognise that without increasing the funding for schools, the education system stands to fail a generation of children and young people. Teachers are striking, not only to increase wages in line with inflation, but to increase funding for schools so that all learners are able to reach their potential. 

Read the report here