John Travers, president of the Association of Directors of Education, commenting on a comparative survey of local government spending by the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, said: "Councillors and officials who are wrestling with budget problems will not be surprised to learn that the apparent overfunding is an illusion."
About 10 per cent of the difference in overall council spending between Scotland and England is accounted for by higher staffing standards and qualifications of teachers.
Mr Travers, director in North Ayrshire, said the study highlighted a number of key areas that appeared to push up spending per head in Scotland. One of the major differences is in the number of opted-out schools and city technology colleges. Scottish schools also provide a full six years of comprehensive education, while in England and Wale sixth-form colleges and further education colleges are funded separately.
Fewer Scots are educated in the private sector and councils had to service a network of small rural schools, Mr Travers said.