Scotland spends more on student education than any other UK country
Scotland spends more on education than any other decentralized UK country, with its baseline per pupil expected to be Â£ 800 higher than England, Wales and Northern Ireland for the year university in progress.
Research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), an independent think tank, found that while spending per student in Scotland fell by 7% in real terms between 2009/10 and 2014/15, it rose sharply. recovered in the years that followed and is expected to be 6% higher than in 2009/10 this year. This is in part due to teacher salary increases that took effect in 2018 and 2019 as well as the Â£ 200million in Covid mitigation funds allocated last year.
Although Covid spending was not included in figures for other countries, the IFS said that “even after making plausible adjustments”, base spending in Scotland is expected to be over 7,500 Â£. This compares to Â£ 6,700 in England, Â£ 6,600 in Wales and Â£ 6,400 in Northern Ireland.
âOver the past decade, per student spending on education has been reduced across the UK,â said Luke Sibieta, researcher at IFS.
‘In Scotland, recent sharp increases mean that spending has more than recovered and basic spending per pupil is now likely to be over Â£ 800 higher than in the rest of the UK.
“Despite recent increases, per student spending in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is still close to or just below levels seen a decade earlier.”
SNP MSP Kaukab Stewart said research shows “you can trust the SNP in government to continue to provide the best funded education system in the UK and ensure every child has the best start in life”.
“These numbers demonstrate the commitment that the Scottish Government of the SNP continues to make to Scottish students and to ensure that every one of them has the opportunity to excel in their education,” she said.
However, Sibieta noted that in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) latest report for International Pupil Monitoring (Pisa), Scottish pupils did not perform well in math or science.
The Pisa report, which is released every three years, tests 15-year-old students around the world in reading, math and science to assess their subject mastery. In the Pisa 2019 report, Scotland had its lowest scores in math and science since it first took part in the survey almost 20 years ago.
âIt is important to remember that higher expenses should not automatically translate into better academic results,â said Sibieta.
âIndeed, international comparisons of test scores suggest that numeracy and science scores were down in spendthrift country Scotland compared to the OECD average until 2018.
âIt remains to be seen whether additional spending in Scotland since 2018 will stop this trend. “
Josh Hillman, director of education at the Nuffield Foundation, which funded the IFS research, added that although Scotland is ahead of other UK countries in spending, the four countries are at the bottom of the lags behind comparable countries in Covid recovery spending on education.
“This IFS analysis shows that the growing divergence in education policies between the four UK countries extends to per pupil expenditure on schooling, where funding to support Scottish pupils has held up better than for their counterparts in other countries,” said he declared.
âA major cause for concern is that funding for programs to restore education in response to the pandemic is much lower in the four countries than those implemented in comparable countries. “