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Last Updated: Thursday, 23 August 2007, 07:26 GMT 08:26 UK
Scotland 'spends more' on pupils
Hand up in class
On average Scottish pupils receive more in funding
Each school pupil in Scotland receives hundreds of pounds more in education funding than those in England, figures for 2005/06 have revealed.

Almost 12% more was spent on primary school pupils north of the border compared with those in England.

At secondary level, the rate of spending was 24% higher in Scotland.

The Scottish Executive warned against making direct comparisons between the two countries and said the different systems of education played a part.

An average of 4,138 was spent on primary pupils in 2005/06 in Scotland, compared with 3,684 south of the border.

For secondary pupils local authorities spent an average of 5,771, in contrast to 4,638 for England.

Clearly it is a political choice to spend a certain level on education but we have different needs and issues
Ministers' spokeswoman

The figures, published by the executive, revealed that gross revenue expenditure in 2005/06 on primary education in Scotland was 1.6bn.

For secondary schools the figure was 1.8bn.

A spokeswoman for the Scottish government said smaller class sizes in Scotland had an impact on the budget.

She said: "In terms of comparing, it's very hard to compare them directly with figures from England as we have a completely different education system.

"As you know, nearly all of our education spend goes to local authorities and we don't really prescribe exactly how they spend it, there's a large degree of local autonomy.

'Rural areas'

"We also have a smaller pupil-teacher ratio in many cases and will continue to do so as this government moves towards its manifesto commitments."

With plans to introduce free school meals for all school children in some areas of Scotland, the budget could be set to increase again.

The figures show that the local authority with the highest expenditure per primary pupils was Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles Council) at 7,869, while for secondary pupils it was in the Shetland Islands with 10,158.

The executive spokeswoman added: "Clearly it is a political choice to spend a certain level on education but we have different needs and issues, not least of which are the issues of targeting deprived areas and the sparse nature of some of our more rural areas."

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