Guidance

Section 251: 2017 to 2018

Information for local authorities, schools and the general public about local authority education funding and expenditure plans for 2017 to 2018.

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 must submit their budget statements by 31 March 2017.

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 2017 to 2018 (PDF, 662KB, 69 pages) explains how local authorities record their budget statements.

Budget statements should be submitted in the S251 budget tables 2017 to 2018 (ODS, 53.2KB) using COLLECT; DfE’s data collection and management system for education.

S251 budget mapping 2017 to 2018 (ODS, 16.8KB) shows the key changes that have been made to the tables from the previous year.

S251 COLLECT instructions are available.

The Administrative direction (PDF, 301KB, 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’re 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: 2017 to 2018

This file is in an OpenDocument format

This is a summary of the section 251 schools 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 2017 to 2018

This file is in an OpenDocument format

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 2017 to 2018 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:

Local authority planned expenditure benchmarking tables: 2017 to 2018: explanatory note (ODT, 64.4KB) and Local authority planned expenditure benchmarking tables: 2017 to 2018: additional information (ODT, 39.1KB) provide information on how to use the local authority benchmarking data.

Section 251 outturn guidance for local authorities

Local authorities are required to submit their outturn statements by 24 August 2018.

The S251 outturn guide for local authorities 2017 to 2018 (PDF, 971KB, 56 pages) 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 2017 to 2018 (ODS, 34.2KB) 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 S251 outturn administrative direction for 2017 to 2018 (PDF, 246KB, 2 pages) 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. Instructions on how to submit returns are provided in the COLLECT guide for local authorities.

Published 7 March 2017
Last updated 29 May 2018 + show all updates
  1. We've published the section 251 outturn guidance 2017 to 2018, administrative direction and the section 251 outturn tables 2017 to 2018.
  2. We've added S251 budget data and benchmarking data for 2017 to 2018
  3. First published.