Investigating school autonomy: a comparison between England and Italy
In: Investigaciones de Economía de la Educación 5
Recent studies have showed that the institutional setting of the education system matters for pupil performance. This paper provides a comparative analysis of the institutional features of the English and Italian education systems, focusing particularly on the importance of school autonomy and the roles of the head-teacher and governing body. The English system is characterised as a market-oriented system and the Italian system more centralised. In England school autonomy is extensive, depending on the type of school being considered, and include management of all staff, buildings maintenance and facilities, while Italian school autonomy is certainly more limited. School funding as well is a crucial point of autonomy in both systems and both of systems use a formula-funding for delegated functions. To understand these institutional features further and to analyse the extent of genuine school autonomy across both education systems, we make use of three data sources: (i) existing institutional literature ii) PISA 2006 data (schools questionnaire) and (iii) interviews with academic experts and head teachers. The PISA data includes questions asked of head teachers about who has responsibility for tasks, who has influence on the decision-making process and about the presence and impact of competition. The interviews with key stake holders in the system then provide further clarification on key points that emerge from the PISA data.
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