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Level playing field? The implications of school funding

Haroon Chowdry, Alastair Muriel and Luke Sibieta
External publication

Despite undergoing significant reform in recent years, the system of state school funding in England remains opaque and poorly understood. Yet the process by which schools are funded has important implications, both for the effectiveness with which funds are targeted and for the incentives schools face to attract pupils and improve quality.

The four chapters of this report discuss the following questions:

  • How have overall levels of public spending on education and schools in the UK evolved in recent years?
  • How does the English school funding system allocate money to individual schools?
  • How redistributive is the school funding system, and to what degree do funding variations reflect educational needs and parental background?
  • What incentives do state schools face to attract new pupils and to improve school quality?

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Observation
At their spring conference this weekend, the Liberal Democrats will discuss a series of proposals designed to combat inequalities in Britain's education system. One is a "pupil premium [to] bring the funding levels [of] one million disadvantaged pupils immediately up to private school ...
Press release
Local authorities in England allocate only around half the extra resources that Whitehall pays them to educate children from disadvantaged backgrounds to the schools that those children actually attend, according to a new study by researchers at the Institute for Fiscal Studies.