Guidance

Section 251: 2016 to 2017

Information for local authorities, schools and the general public about local authority education funding and expenditure for 2016 to 2017.

Introduction

Section 251 is part of the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009 that requires local authorities to submit statements about their planned and actual expenditure on education and children’s social care.

Local authorities submit their statements to the Secretary of State for Education. The Department for Education (DfE) uses the data for publishing statistics, constructing benchmarking tables, answering parliamentary questions and responding to other requests for data.

Comparing information supplied through section 251 is also important for schools forums and others in their discussions about budget levels and use of funds.

Section 251 budget guidance for local authorities

Local authorities submitted their budget statements by the end of March 2016.

Local authorities record their total dedicated schools grant (DSG) planned expenditure and other non-statutory spending. They must provide details of planned expenditure for their schools, including spending on early years, high needs and post-16. They must also provide details of their children and young people’s services budget.

The S251 budget guide for local authorities 2016 to 2017 (PDF, 605KB, 53 pages) explains how local authorities record their budget statements.

Budget statements should be submitted in the S251 budget tables 2016 to 2017 (ODS, 41.8KB) using COLLECT; DfE’s data collection and management system for education.

S251 COLLECT instructions (PDF, 1.69MB, 25 pages) are also provided.

The Administrative direction (PDF, 155KB, 2 pages) is a formal request for the collection of section 251 data. It is prepared on behalf of the Secretary of State for Education.

Section 251 budget data

The section 251 budget data statements are the primary means of informing schools and the public in general about local authority funding and expenditure plans. They are intended to give detailed information on each local authority’s planned expenditure on their education and children’s social care functions in a form that allows benchmarking.

Budget summary level 2016 to 2017

This is a summary of the section 251 budget data at a national level, split by sector and budget line.

This is a detailed view of the section 251 schools budget data submitted by local authorities, split by local authority and budget line.

Budget detailed level high needs 2016 to 2017

This is a detailed view of the section 251 high needs and alternative provision data submitted by local authorities, split by local authority and budget line.

This is a detailed view of the section 251 early years data submitted by local authorities, split by local authority and budget line.

This is a detailed view of the section 251 data split into individual local authority tables.

Section 251 benchmarking data

The benchmarking tables of planned expenditure are drawn from the published section 251 budget statements for the 2016 to 2017 financial year, and are primarily aimed at schools forums and local authorities.

The following tables give detailed information on each local authority’s planned expenditure on education in a form which enables comparison between local authorities.

This shows section 251 net budget data on a per capita (per pupil per head of population) basis, to enable easy comparison between local authorities.

This shows section 251 gross budget data on a per capita (per pupil or per head of population) basis, to enable easy comparison between local authorities.

Pupil numbers 2016 to 2017

This shows the pupil and population numbers used to calculate the per capita figures used in the other tables.

This shows year-on-year change in selected items of planned spending, to enable easy comparison across financial years.

This shows additional information on planned expenditure, including dedicated schools grant allocations and the percentages of schools with minimum funding guarantee.

Local authority planned expenditure benchmarking tables: 2016 to 2017 - additional information (PDF, 106KB, 3 pages) and Local authority planned expenditure benchmarking tables: 2016 to 2017 financial year - explanatory note (PDF, 205KB, 12 pages) provide information on how to use the local authority benchmarking data.

Section 251 outturn guidance for local authorities

Local authorities were required to submit their outturn statements by 25 August 2017.

S251 outturn guide for local authorities 2016 to 2017 (ODT, 89.5KB) explains how local authorities record their total dedicated schools grant (DSG) actual expenditure and any other non-statutory DSG actual expenditure.

In the S251 outturn tables 2016 to 2017 (ODS, 30.7KB) , local authorities provide details of actual expenditure for their schools. This includes early years, high needs and post-16 providers. They also provide details of their children and young people’s services budget.

The administrative direction (ODT, 45.2KB) is the formal request prepared on behalf of the Secretary of State for Education.

Local authorities submit their budget statements using COLLECT, DfE’s data collection and management system for education. Instruction on how to submit returns are provided in the COLLECT guide for local authorities.

Section 251 outturn data

The outturn statements are the primary means of informing schools and the public in general about local authority funding and expenditure plans.

This data is intended to give detailed information on each local authority’s actual expenditure on their education and children and young people’s services functions, in a form that allows benchmarking, by schools forums and authorities.

The individual local authority expenditure data workbook provides data for 152 local authorities in England detailing their expenditure for the financial year 2016 to 2017.

This is a summary of the section 251 outturn data at a national level, split by sector and outturn line.

This is a detailed view of the section 251 schools outturn data submitted by local authorities, split by local authority and outturn line.

This is a detailed view of the section 251 children and young people’s outturn data submitted by local authorities, split by local authority and outturn line.

This is a detailed view of the section 251 data split into individual local authority tables.

Contact us

If you have any questions or need further information about section 251, please contact the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA):

EFA questions

For schools, local authorities, other education institutions and providers, accountants, auditors and other professional advisers with queries for the Education Funding Agency

Published 29 February 2016
Last updated 18 December 2017 + show all updates
  1. We’ve published the data for the section 251 outturn 2016 to 2017.
  2. We've published the S251 outturn guidance 2016 to 2017, administrative direction and the S251 outturn tables 2016 to 2017.
  3. Updated page to include the pupil number table and the changes in local authority planned expenditure table.
  4. The benchmarking tables have been re-issued to correct a misalignment of data columns in the original release affecting columns 3.1.1 to 3.1.11.
  5. Updated with budget and benchmarking data for 2016 to 2017.
  6. A minor update has been added to the Section 251 financial data collection 2016 to 2017 document.
  7. First published.