Scotland spends £800 more per pupil than rest of UK, research finds

Scotland spends more money per pupil than England, Wales and Northern Ireland, new research has found. 

The country is estimated to spend around £7,800 per pupils in 2021/22 – £800 more than the rest of the UK. 

Over the last decade, the education system saw cuts to its spending, however this has been reversed in recent years with teacher pay rises and additional funding during the pandemic. 

SNP MSP and former teacher Kaukab Stewart said the investments in Scotland have “paid off” and resulted in better school conditions, improved exam results and more young people going into higher education.

However, the author of the research by IFS, Luke Sibieta, was more cautious about the findings, arguing that it was “important to remember higher spending need not automatically translate into better educational outcomes.”

He added: “Indeed, international comparisons of test scores suggest numeracy and science scores were declining in high-spending Scotland relative to the OECD average up to 2018.

“It remains to be seen whether extra spending in Scotland since 2018 will arrest this trend.”

Is the Scottish Government in charge of education in Scotland?

Yes, education is devolved in Scotland meaning that the Scottish government is in charge of the education system. 

This is why universities are free in Scotland for Scottish students and why there is a different exam system to that in England, for example. 

It also explains why spending in Scotland per pupil is different to England, Northern Ireland and Wales. 

According to MSP Kaukab Stewart, the Scottish government will invest a further £1 billion in an attempt to close the poverty-related attainment gap which  “remains one of the SNP Government’s defining missions”. 



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