School Finance and Equity in England:An Analysis of Strategies and Consequences
AbstractThis article analyses the development of school funding in England between 1988 and 2002 from two perspectives. The first perspective is temporal, showing how the history of funding has evolved through a number of phases reflecting changing policy emphases and purposes. A major change that is explored in some detail is the increased use by the post-1997 Labour Government of direct funding tied to specific policy objectives. The second perspective is conceptual, exploring how, as the reform agenda has evolved, there have been changes both in the relative priority given to equity as an objective and to the ways in which it has been defined both explicitly and implicitly in relation to the funding mechanisms used to achieve it. The main theme that emerges here is the change from a funding regime that focuses on the transparent achievement of equity in resource inputs to one which focuses much more emphasis on an ‘adequacy’ agenda: the targeting of resource inputs to achieve specific outcomes for particular groups of students.