Report Overview

This survey of 1,371 teachers across England, conducted by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) for the Sutton Trust as part of their Teacher Voice Omnibus Survey, examines how schools are spending their funding this year.

The polling reveals the continuing funding challenges faced by schools as a result of the pandemic, as well as rising costs of living.


The number of senior leaders who say that catch-up funding for this year has been insufficient.


The number of primary school senior leaders who report cutting teaching assistants to reduce costs.


The number of leaders using their pupil premium to plug gaps in their general budget.

Key Findings
  • 57% of senior leaders overall, report that covid-19 funding this year has been insufficient, down slightly from 65% in 2021. 38% report that it has been sufficient.
  • There are substantial differences between primary and secondary schools. While 53% of secondary heads report that funding has been sufficient, this is just 30% at primary schools, with 68% reporting it has been insufficient. 
  • The impacts of the pandemic, along with inflation and the growing cost of living crisis is likely be having an effect on provision. Over half (51%) of primary heads report needing to cut teaching assistants, 35% support staff, and 32% IT equipment.
  • In the wake of a pandemic that deprived many children of experiences outside the home, 25% of primary schools reporting they have had to cut trips and outings, and 20% sports and extracurricular activities is of concern. 
  • A third of headteachers report using pupil premium funding to plug gaps in their budget. This is consistent with 2021 (34%), but up substantially from 23% in 2019 before the pandemic. 36% of heads in the most disadvantaged schools said reported this, compared to 27% in the least disadvantaged. 
  • 34% of secondary headteachers report that one-to-one and small group tuition is their biggest priority for pupil premium spending this year, which has doubled over the last 12 months, from 17%, and 20% pre-pandemic. 
  • Use of the Sutton Trust/EEF toolkit remains strong among senior leaders (70% this year, compared to 69% last year), and up slightly amongst classroom teachers (26%, compared to 23% in 2021). Use of research evidence among senior leaders and classroom teachers in order to inform decisions is steady at 78% and 49% respectively.
  • There should be additional investment in the government’s education recovery plan, with support targeted at disadvantaged pupils to ensure that attainment gaps do not widen further.
  • In order to maximise the potential benefits of tutoring in closing attainment gaps, the government’s overhaul of the National Tutoring Programme must retain a focus on disadvantaged pupils, and increased flexibility for schools should not come at the expense of quality provision.