Saturday 21 January 2012

Funding gaps and outrage

The howls of outrage from those more interested in having a stick with which to beat the government than they are in either statistics or education are hardly a surprise.  The Lib Dems, in particular, have been obsessed for years with the alleged 'funding gap' between schools in Wales and schools in England (although both Plaid and the Tories have been known to join in from time to time as well).

The lack of information this year can hardly have come as a surprise to anyone, however - not if they'd read beyond the headlines last year, at any rate.  Because last year's report (available here) clearly stated:

What happens next year?
If England are able to provide education outturn expenditure for 2010-11 on a comparable basis with the new local authority responsibilities removed then the outturn data could be compared.
The position of comparability of budgets for 2011-12 is not yet clear due to further changes in the way education is funded in England but we will be exploring this with the Department for Communities and Local Government.

I would have hoped that the absence of a meaningless high level comparison of the Welsh average and the English average might lead people to start to concentrate on the substance of the education problems in Wales instead.  Hoped, but not expected.


Britnot said...

Due to the fact that it seems to me we are trying to compare apples with pears it is unlikely that any comparison will ever be completely valid. As I understand it there are several aspects to the English system which are peculiar to it.

They are obviously looking at the privatisation route, education for the rich. They have London Weighting which has to be paid for as well as a eye-watering PFI bill which is currently running at £200 Billion to £300 Billion for both the Education and Health service.

What the PISA results showed is that it is not just about the amount spent but more importantly how it is spent. Whilst making best use of limited public funds is important it may just be the Lib-Dems trying vainly to justify their existence, and failing.

Unknown said...

It is simplistic and naive to compare average funding in Wales with average funding in England, when funding in both countries are so lumpy - that is vary by so much between districts - even between schools. But I suppose naive and simplistic are adjectives that fit the LibDems quite well.