Accounting, Information and the Development of Evidence-Based Resourcing Strategies in Education
In this paper we will argue that there has developed a significant gap between the high policy priority given to improving educational performance in the UK and the attention that has effectively been given to generating the information base upon which more effective educational resourcing strategies might be developed. This is despite the fact that evidence-based policies are intended to be at the heart of the current Modernising Government initiative. The high priority given to education by the incoming new Labour Government and by the Prime Minister in 1997 has since been accompanied by substantial additional resources under the Comprehensive Spending Reviews of 1998 and 2000. The principle of devolving educational budgets and resource management decisions down to individual schools through formula funding, that was at the centre of the previous government’s Local Management of School initiative, has also been reinforced. However, there remain important questions of the nature of the links which exist between school resourcing, characteristics of the pupil, and the educational achievements which can be expected from these different pupil and resource inputs. These questions are important for both the design of improved resource allocation formulae to allocate educational resources to individual schools and for resource management decisions within schools, as well as for target setting and performance monitoring. Answering these questions requires the development of a comprehensive national comparative school database, of which improvements in financial reporting would form a key component.
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