OECD Reviews of School Resources

English
ISSN: 
2413-3841 (online)
ISSN: 
2413-4333 (print)
http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/24133841
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The effective use of school resources is a policy priority across OECD countries. The OECD Reviews of School Resources explore how resources can be governed, distributed, utilised and managed to improve the quality, equity and efficiency of school education.The series considers four types of resources: financial resources, such as public funding of individual schools; human resources, such as teachers, school leaders and education administrators; physical resources, such as location, buildings and equipment; and other resources, such as learning time.This series offers timely policy advice to both governments and the education community. It includes both country reports and thematic studies.

 
The Funding of School Education

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The Funding of School Education

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Author(s):
OECD
26 June 2017
Pages:
316
ISBN:
9789264276147 (PDF) ; 9789264276185 (EPUB) ;9789264276130(print)
http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264276147-en

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This report on the funding of school education constitutes the first in a series of thematic comparative reports bringing together findings from the OECD School Resources Review. School systems have limited financial resources with which to pursue their objectives and the design of school funding policies plays a key role in ensuring that resources are directed to where they can make the most difference. As OECD school systems have become more complex and characterised by multi-level governance, a growing set of actors are increasingly involved in financial decision-making. This requires designing funding allocation models that are aligned to a school system’s governance structures, linking budget planning procedures at different levels to shared educational goals and evaluating the use of school funding to hold decision makers accountable and ensure that resources are used effectively and equitably.

This report was co-funded by the European Commission.

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  • Foreword

    School systems have limited financial resources with which to pursue their objectives and the design of school funding policies plays a key role in ensuring that resources are directed to where they can make the most difference. This report seeks to assist governments in achieving their education policy objectives through the efficient and equitable use of financial resources. It provides a systematic analysis of school funding policies by looking into the organisation of responsibilities for raising and spending school funds, the design of mechanisms to distribute funding to schools, the procedures for planning education budgets, and the practices for monitoring, evaluating and reporting how funding has been used. Eighteen school systems were actively engaged in the preparation of this report. In addition, the analysis considers the broader research and policy literature on school funding approaches in other OECD and partner countries.

  • Abbreviations and acronyms
  • Executive summary

    This report constitutes the first in a series of thematic comparative reports bringing together the findings of the OECD Review of Policies to Improve the Effectiveness of Resource Use in Schools (School Resources Review). It provides analysis and policy options to assist governments in achieving their education policy objectives through the efficient and equitable use of financial resources. Following an introductory chapter explaining the importance of school funding policies, the report’s remaining chapters focus on the following thematic areas:

  • The funding of school education: Main findings and policy pointers

    This study on school funding policies was conducted for a number of reasons:

  • Why look at school funding policies?

    This report is concerned with school funding policies that can help countries achieve their educational goals and student learning objectives. This chapter sets the context for the subsequent analysis. First, it highlights the importance of well-designed school funding strategies for achieving quality, equity and efficiency objectives in schooling. Second, it explores major contextual developments shaping the funding of school education across different countries. Third, it explains how this report looks at school funding and the evidence base that it draws from. The annex to this chapter provides detailed definitions and discussion of the concepts of effectiveness, efficiency and equity that will be used throughout the report.

  • Governing school funding

    This chapter describes the different actors involved in raising, managing and allocating school funds across countries and analyses how the relationships between these actors are organised. It looks at both the sources of school funding (who raises funds for school education?) and the responsibilities for spending these funds (who manages and allocates funds for school education?). As OECD school systems have become more complex and characterised by multi-level governance, a growing set of actors including different levels of the school administration, schools themselves and private providers are increasingly involved in financial decision making. The chapter analyses the opportunities and challenges for effective school funding in such multi-level governance contexts and explores a range of policy options to reap the potential benefits of fiscal decentralisation, school autonomy over budgetary matters and involvement of private school providers in the use of public funds.

  • Distributing school funding

    This chapter presents an overview of different mechanisms used to allocate funding, whether this is between different levels of education administration or to individual schools. It presents a set of guiding questions that policy makers can follow in designing a funding allocation model that is aligned to the school system’s governance structures. The chapter describes different approaches that countries take in distributing funding for current expenditures and capital expenditures. For current expenditures, the analysis focuses on the design of funding formulas that can be adjusted to support policy objectives aiming for greater efficiency, equity and quality. The chapter presents a range of policy options with key principles that can support the design and implementation of more effective funding mechanisms.

  • Planning the use of school funding

    This chapter describes practices and procedures involved in planning the effective use of school funding among OECD review countries and analyses the challenges involved in the process. First, the chapter reviews how budget planning procedures can be linked to educational targets and priorities as well as research and evaluation results to strategically guide the planning process and employ resources as effectively and equitably as possible. Following an overview of budget planning practices from the central to the school level, the chapter then discusses different techniques employed to render the process more flexible, responsive and efficient. Based on this overview and drawing on the OECD analysis of country practices, the chapter then explores how multi-annual perspectives and the effective use of targets or evaluation results can support the development of more efficient and effective planning procedures.

  • Evaluating the use of school funding

    This chapter analyses the role of evaluation in school funding to hold decision makers accountable and to ensure available resources are used effectively and equitably. First, it discusses key aspects of evaluating the use of school funding in complex governance systems. Second, the chapter provides a description of the processes for evaluating the use of resources by agents at all levels of the system. This includes internal management and control, accounting, financial reporting, external audits and evaluations, and individual performance management. It discusses the key role of data and information management, indicator frameworks and benchmarking systems to facilitate an effective monitoring of the use of school funding. Third, the chapter offers an overview of processes to evaluate particular types of school funding, such as targeted funds for equity. The chapter concludes with a set of policy options for evaluating the use of school funding.

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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Annexes

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    • Country profiles

      This annex presents the approaches of individual OECD review countries for funding early childhood and school education. Country profiles describe national frameworks for the distribution of funding for current and capital expenditure. They illustrate the financial flows across levels of administration and the allocation mechanisms used to determine and distribute funding to school providers and to individual schools. This does not include information on funding targeted at individual students. Country profiles present information for 2016 and draw primarily on the data countries provided for the review’s qualitative survey of school funding frameworks as well as country background reports of participating countries and country review reports conducted by the School Resources Review. provides a glossary of terms and definitions which aid in interpreting the information in the country profiles. provides further explanations and notes on countries’ approaches to funding of early childhood and school education.

    • Glossary

      Early childhood education (ISCED 0): Provides learning and educational activities with a holistic approach to support children’s early cognitive, physical, social and emotional development and introduce young children to organised instruction outside of the family context to develop some of the skills needed for academic readiness and to prepare them for entry into primary education. ISCED level 0 is further divided into two sub-levels: ISCED 01 and ISCED 02.

    • Notes on country profiles

      The statistical data for Israel are supplied by and under the responsibility of the relevant Israeli authorities. The use of such data by the OECD is without prejudice to the status of the Golan Heights, East Jerusalem and Israeli settlements in the West Bank under the terms of international law.

    • How the School Resources Review was conducted

      The School Resources Review is overseen by a Group of National Experts (GNE) on School Resources, a subsidiary body of the OECD Education Policy Committee. The GNE on School Resources guides the review and facilitates the exchange of information and experiences concerning school resources among countries. The GNE on School Resources has been chaired by Mr Jørn Skovsgaard, Senior Advisor, Danish Ministry of Education, and vice-chairs Ms Marie-Anne Persoons, Policy advisor, Flemish Ministry of Education and Training and Mr Matej Šiškovič, Director, Education Policy Institute, Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic.

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