Guidance

Section 251: 2019 to 2020

Information for local authorities, schools and the general public about local authority education funding and expenditure plans for 2019 to 2020.

Introduction

Section 251 is part of the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009.

Local authorities submit statements on planned and actual expenditure on education and children’s social care.

The Department for Education uses the data for publishing statistics, constructing benchmarking tables, answering parliamentary questions and responding to other data requests.

Comparing information is important for schools forums and others in discussions about budget levels and use of funds.

Budget guidance

Local authorities must submit their budget statements by 30 April 2019 using COLLECT.

Read the section 251 budget guide for local authorities 2019 to 2020 (PDF, 835KB, 70 pages) to find out how local authorities record their budget statements.

The budget statements must be submitted in the section 251 budget tables 2019 to 2020 (MS Excel Spreadsheet, 92.8KB), using COLLECT (DfE’s data collection and management system for education). The budget tables are available to download as a:

Read the COLLECT instructions to find out how to submit the budget statement.

The administrative direction (PDF, 232KB, 2 pages) is a formal request for the collection of section 251 data. It’s prepared on behalf of the Secretary of State for Education.

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 authorities planned expenditure on their education and children’s social care functions in a form that allows benchmarking.

Budget summary level: 2019 to 2020

View the budget summary level: 2019 to 2020 (MS Excel Spreadsheet, 295KB) at a national level, split by sector and budget line.

Budget detailed level: local authority information 2019 to 2020

View the section 251 schools budget data (MS Excel Spreadsheet, 1.46MB) submitted by local authorities, split by local authority and budget line.

Budget detailed level: high needs table 2019 to 2020

View the section 251 high needs and alternative provision data (MS Excel Spreadsheet, 432KB) submitted by local authorities, split by local authority and budget line.

Budget detailed level: early years table 2019 to 2020

View the section 251 early years data (MS Excel Spreadsheet, 610KB) submitted by local authorities, split by local authority and budget line.

Section 251 budget 2019 to 2020: individual local authority expenditure data

View the section 251 data split into individual local authority tables (MS Excel Spreadsheet, 7.43MB).

Benchmarking data

The benchmarking tables of planned expenditure are drawn from the published section 251 budget statements for the 2019 to 2020 financial year and are primarily aimed at schools forums and local authorities.

Local authority table (net) information: per capita

View the section 251 local authority table (net) information: per capita (MS Excel Spreadsheet, 2.84MB) to see section 251 net budget data on a per capita (per pupil or per head of population) basis, to enable easy comparison between local authorities.

Local authority table (gross) information: per capita

View the section 251 local authority table (gross) information: per capita (MS Excel Spreadsheet, 2.77MB) to see 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 2019 to 2020

View the pupil numbers 2019 to 2020 (MS Excel Spreadsheet, 30.3KB) to see the pupil and population numbers used to calculate the ‘per capita’ figures used in the other tables.

Changes in local authority planned expenditure between 2018 to 2019 and 2019 to 2020

View the changes in local authority planned expenditure between 2018 to 2019 and 2019 to 2020 (MS Excel Spreadsheet, 648KB) to see year on year changes in selected items of planned spending to enable easy comparison across financial years.

Local authority benchmarking tables 2019 to 2020

View the local authority benchmarking tables 2019 to 2020 (MS Excel Spreadsheet, 674KB) to see additional information on planned expenditure, including dedicated schools grant allocations and the percentages of schools with minimum funding guarantee.

Additional information and explanatory note

Use the additional information (PDF, 260KB, 3 pages) and explanatory note (PDF, 535KB, 15 pages) to find out how to use the local authority benchmarking data.

Section 251 outturn

Read the section 251 outturn guidance 2019 to 2020 (PDF, 718KB, 57 pages) to find out how to complete the outturn statement.

Use the section 251 outturn XML generator (XLSM, 710KB) to provide details of actual expenditure for your schools. Please note, this file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology. If you require this in a different format, please email ESFA.GOVUK-ENQUIRIES@education.gov.uk.

The outturn administrative direction (PDF, 139KB, 1 page) is the formal request prepared on behalf of the Secretary of State for Education.

Published 1 March 2019
Last updated 4 August 2020 + show all updates
  1. We have corrected a contact email address on page 7 of the Section 251 outturn guidance. The correct email address for queries about the 2019 to 2020 data collection is: outturnqueries.s251@education.gov.uk.

  2. 2019 to 2020 section 251 outturn guidance, outturn tables and administrative direction added.

  3. We've published the section 251 benchmarking data and supporting guidance.

  4. We've added the section 251 budget data statements.

  5. First published.