2018 WBG Briefing: Education and Gender

Date Posted: Friday 26th October 2018

October 2018

Ahead of the 2018 Autumn Budget, we’ve put together a briefing on the gender implications of recent trends on education funding.

View and download the full briefing here.

This briefing was updated following the 2018 Autumn Budget to reflect the changes announced by the Chancellor.

View and download the updated briefing here (November 2018)

Key points


  • Public spending on education has been in decline since 2010.
  • There has been an 8% reduction in real terms in school spending between 2009-10 and 2017-18. At the same time, additional money has been allocated to free schools and Independent schools continue to be subsidised through tax relief.
  • Classroom teaching is a low-paid area of female employment. Women earn less than men at all levels of education and are, proportionally, less likely to be in senior roles than men. The biggest average gender pay gap – 31.7% – is among staff in Academy and Trust schools.
  • Further education receives the least educational spending (10% less per pupil than in schools) and will see a 12% cut in real terms between 2010-11 and 2019-20. The gender pay gap in further education is 7% for management staff and 3% for teaching staff.
  • Funding for apprenticeships will double from 2015-16 to 2019-20. However, apprenticeships remain highly gender segregated with women making up the majority of students in apprenticeships for low-paid professions, such as childcare, hairdressing and health and social care.
  • The shift to funding higher education teaching through tuition fees and loans is having a disproportionate adverse impact on women. Women pay a significantly larger proportion of their income back in loan repayments than men because of the gender pay gap in graduate occupations and due to time out of the workforce for unpaid caring. Having a student loan also appears to have a negative impact on when women, but not men, marry and begin having children.
  • The gender pay gap for university staff is on average 15.9% and women are under-represented in senior roles.

Written by Gill Kirkup, independent consultant