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.