Publication - Statistics

Expenditure on School Education in Scotland, 2008-09

Published: 25 Mar 2010

This document gives the figures for local authority spending on school education in the financial year 2008-09.

Expenditure on School Education in Scotland, 2008-09


1. The expenditure figures set out in this publication are defined as follows:

  • Tables 1.1, 1.2, 2.1-4.2 are total local authority gross expenditure, irrespective of whether the income is from central government grants, specific grants, sales, fees and charges (e.g. school meals) and lottery grants. It excludes loan charges payments. Section 5 gives net figures rather than gross.
  • The totals include "revenue contributions to capital" ( RCC) and "support services". These are single items for the whole education budget which are apportioned by local authorities to each of the sub-services (primary, secondary, etc.). RCCs are revenue funding used to contribute to capital expenditure and support services are the costs of administration support to the education department from the council's central administration e.g. by providing office space or payroll administration.
  • These figures are also being published in a slightly different form by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accounting ( CIPFA) Scotland in the Rating Review Actuals 2008-09.
  • In certain tables, there is an adjustment made to account for inter-authority and intra-authority transfers i.e. the total spend in Scotland is slightly less than the sum of the 32 councils' gross spend as some give money to other councils for the provision of services and both show it as an expenditure item. Similarly individual education services recharge some costs to other accounts of the local authority. This avoids double counting but has not been apportioned to each of the spend categories, as it is supplied as a single figure.
  • Real terms increases have been calculated using the UKGDP deflator (4 th January 2010 update):
  • Elements of the 2007-08 published statistics have been slightly revised because East Ayrshire submitted a revised return after the 2007-08 publication. Tables affected by this revision have been footnoted accordingly. It should be noted that tables in the annexes to the source publication - Scottish Government Financial Statistics ( SLGFS) 2007-08 - have not been revised to incorporate the East Ayrshire revisions which did not affect total education spend for East Ayrshire.

Central administration

2. When recording service expenditure, local authorities follow guidelines set out by CIPFA. From 1 April 2002, the Best Value Accounting Code of Practice ( BVACoP) was implemented across Scotland for Education expenditure analysis. Under this new guidance central administration costs, which were previously reported as a separate item, are now reported under the various sectors and services which rely on them. This means that figures for 2002-03 onwards are not comparable with previous years.

PPP projects

3. PPP projects are initially funded by the private sector, with local authorities financing them over future years. The initial cost of building projects funded in this way will therefore not appear in the capital expenditure figures in this publication, but will lead to an increase in the revenue spend in future years.

Devolved to schools

4. As a result of the implementation of the new code of practice for 2002-03 (see Note 2) outturn expenditure from 2002-03 onwards is classified as either (a) devolved to head teachers (Individual School Budgets), or (b) centrally held and managed by local authorities. Data are published in table 5.1 and 5.2.

5. Guidance has also been issued stating which categories of expenditure can reasonably be devolved to head teachers. Table 5.1 however contains all categories of expenditure, and so the percentage obtained by simply dividing Table 5.2 by Table 5.1 would underestimate this statistic.

Scottish Government spending on education

6. The Scottish Government did not set the amount to be spent on school education, but provided local authorities with £11.1 billion in 2008-09 to help fund their net revenue expenditure on all services. Local authority net revenue expenditure is funded mainly from this central government funding which comprises General Revenue Funding (formerly Revenue Support Grant); business rates income and specific revenue grants with the balance being funded from their own council tax receipts. The Scottish Government calculated the distribution of the available funding using a formula-based allocation method incorporating various indicators of relative need and this total perceived need was met from Scottish Government funding and council tax income. However, while these calculations have an education element, the amounts involved, other than the specific revenue grants are not ring-fenced. It is the Local authorities' responsibility to decide how much they wished to spend on education relative to other services. The Scottish Government funded some aspects of education through direct grants, much of which is also included in these figures as it was spent by local authorities, however this accounted for only a very small proportion of local authority net revenue expenditure.

Per pupil calculations

7. Expenditure per pupil in the primary and secondary sectors was calculated using the relevant school rolls for primary and secondary pupils. However the reported expenditure may exclude some elements of spend on pupils with additional support needs, as this is recorded under special education.

8. It is not possible to meaningfully calculate expenditure per pupil in special education. Expenditure in this category includes additional support for pupils in mainstream schools as well as funding of special schools, and in some cases covers funding for pupils in neighbouring authorities' special schools or additional funding of their support in their mainstream schools. It is therefore not possible to identify either the total expenditure or the correct number of pupils to which the expenditure relates. A figure per child in the population (not just those with additional support needs) has been given in order to track any changes in reporting practices between mainstream spend and special education spend.

9. National expenditure per pupil figures are based on total gross expenditure adjusted for inter-authority and inter-account transfers. Unadjusted national expenditure per pupil figures are available upon request.

10. Categories in the maps have been set at five per cent above and below the Scotland average, with a fourth category for authorities over 50% above the Scotland average. The values shown in the key are the ranges of the actual authority values within each category.


11. Figures are rounded separately and may consequently not sum to the total figure.

12. The following symbols are used:

.. = not available

- = nil or rounds to nil

13. This is a National Statistics publication. National Statistics are produced to high professional standards set out in the National Statistics Code of Practice. They undergo regular quality assurance reviews to ensure that they meet customer needs. They are produced free from any political interference.

14. Statistical tables are available through the following link

Figures for expenditure on other services are available through the following link


15. The report was edited by James Boyce.

16. Public enquiries (non-media) about the information contained in this News Release should be addressed to James Boyce, Statistician, Scottish Government Education Directorate, Area 1-B, Victoria Quay, Edinburgh EH6 6QQ.
Telephone 0131 244 0636 or e-mail

17. Media enquiries about the information in this News Release should be addressed to:
Tom Whittles, tel: 0131 244 2530

Statistical Publication Notice
25 th March 2010