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Schools: the cash illusion

23 June 2012

13 years of Labour rule taught us two vital lessons about school reform. The first is that there is no direct link between money and results. Funding per pupil more than doubled under the last government:

But for all that extra cash, Britain’s schools have slipped down the international league tables over the past decade. Every three years, the OECD rates countries according to student performance. Of the 31 with scores for both 2000 and 2009, here is the top twenty in mathematics for 2009, along with changes since 2000:

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So if money doesn’t work, what does? The Blair/Adonis City Academy reforms — which themselves stem from the Major/Baker reforms — show that stunning results are achievable if the tuition changes. The below table show the results achieved by two chains: the Harris Federation and Absolute Return for Kids (ARK):

So has the coalition learned these lessons?  We’ll be discussing all this and more at our Schools Revolution conference next Tuesday. We’ll hear from Gove himself; Andrew Adonis, the architect of the academies programme; Michelle Rhee, who successfully implemented her own education reforms in Washington DC; and Barbara Bergstrom, the founder of the International English School, a chain of Swedish for-profit schools whose first school in England will open in September. 

We do hope you can come and join us. Tickets are still available.

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