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All local authorities (LAs) are required under section 251 of the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009 to prepare and submit an education and children’s social care budget statement before the beginning of each financial year.

After the end of each financial year they are required to prepare an outturn statement.

Regulatory provisions directly affecting the education content of section 251 budget and outturn statements are also made in the School Finance (England) Regulations.

It is a statutory duty that LAs must publish their budget and outturn statements as and when prescribed in the administrative Direction issued by the Secretary of State for Education.

It is important that schools forums and others can compare funding and methodology between different LAs, so as to inform debate about budget levels and such issues as the balance of funding between early years, primary (reception +), secondary and special schools and therefore all statements are prepared to a common format.