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School funding not linked to performance – Reform

The Government should lift the ringfencing of the schools budget, the think tank Reform has argued.

There is no link between higher spending and quality of teaching, or pupil achievement, its new research suggests. The report, 'Must Do Better: Spending on Schools', states that spending could and should be cut, without compromising standards.

Reform, which advocates free market solutions to public policy questions, recommends a cut of 18% in the next Parliament. The Public Spending Review will set out funding for different government departments on June 26.

The report compares the funding of nearly all primary and secondary schools in England with pupil achievement and the quality of teaching and found no links between the two. Spending per pupil rose by 90% between 1999-00 and 2009-10, but increasing pupil numbers will put pressure on schools to focus spending more narrowly.

This should go towards improving the quality of teaching rather than class sizes or teaching assistants, the think tank suggested.

James Zuccollo, senior economist at Reform, wrote in a blog for Public Finance: “There are schools with funding many times that of others, who are performing no better and whose pupils are doing no better. For some of these schools there will be extenuating circumstances, but there is clearly scope for significant savings across state schools without compromising quality.”

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