League tables and spending figures

12 Jan 2011

Interesting move by the government to publish school-by-school spending figures alongside the academic results in this year's league tables for England.

With critical reaction to real terms spending cuts looming  - once schools see what is actually in their 2011-12 budgets from April - this looks like a case of ministers getting their retaliation in first.

Alongside the raw figures, the Department for Education has published an analysis - "Improving Efficiency in Schools" media.education.gov.uk/assets/files/pdf/i/improving%20efficiency%20in%20schools.pdf - which argues that there are savings to be made.

However, while the report highlights differences in school-by-school spending, it does not really acknowledge that there are often (but admittedly not always) genuine reasons for this.

In theory you can analyse spending levels at different local schools via data on the DfE website, allowing parents - as Michael Gove put it - to "go compare". However all my attempts to do so have failed as their website appears not to be coping. You can try here:  www.education.gov.uk/schools/adminandfinance/financialmanagement/a0072261/school-spending-data

The DfE analysis also argues that a comparison of spending levels with results achieved shows there is no correlation between the two.

This is an interesting assertion and I shall be investigating it further in a piece for BBC News later today (it should be on-line from tonight at www.bbc.co.uk/news/education/ ).

However, if there really is no correlation between higher spending and better results, one does wonder what that means for the pupil premium.


User Comments

Ursula - 12 Jan 2011

Pupil Premium

You're right I'm sure... student, learner, (customer)?! or'pupil' premium is meaningless. There are already lots of facilities to help these individuals and in my experience its more likely to be the lack of parental support/knowledge and lack of self-esteem that holds these kids back. Not sure what can be done about that - but money isn't really the answer!

Brian Lightman - 12 Jan 2011

Spending figures

Of course the reason why there are differences in spending priorities between schools is because they are locally managed. Since the government believes in autonomy and keeps saying that schools should be left alone to make the most appropriate management decisions it is to say the least strange to suggest that this is in some way a problem.

John Senior - 13 Jan 2011

spending figures

To assume things like pupil premium will make no difference in some schools is ridiculous.Students who really struggle outside school - which schools have very little control over - need extra support in school - usually via additional staffing which comes with a cost. Worth remembering that many schools support large numbers of students who while not qualifying for a statement of specialneeds are nearly at that level.

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