Country information for UK (Scotland) - Financing of inclusive education systems

In Scotland, the local authorities receive funding from the Scottish Government and from council tax. Each local authority then decides how much it needs to spend from its revenue on education. It must ensure it meets its statutory duties.

In 2018–19, education authorities (EAs) spent GBP 5.6 billion on education, of which GBP 661 million was spent on additional support for learning. EAs prioritise this spending in light of local priorities and circumstances, including across their range of provisions.

Every year, local authorities publish their abstracts of accounts and parents are entitled to a copy. Parents can also see the reports and minutes of meetings detailing the breakdown of the education budget.

The Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004 (as amended) requires EAs to make adequate and efficient provision of additional support as is required by each pupil with additional support needs. To fulfil the duty under the Act, the EA is not required to do anything beyond their powers or anything which would result in unreasonable public expenditure. Unreasonable public expenditure is not defined in the Act. However, cost is not expected to be the primary consideration when deciding about provision.

The Education (Scotland) Act 2016 introduced the Attainment Scotland Fund, a targeted initiative focused on supporting pupils in the local authorities of Scotland with the highest concentrations of deprivation. It also set out revised eligibility criteria for free school meals related to the Welfare Reform Act 2007 and the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014. (Source: Legislation Updates 2017, pp. 30–31).

Last updated 24/03/2021

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