OECD Reviews of School Resources: Denmark 2016

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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.



Executive summary

Denmark’s public school system (Folkeskole) is based on trust, local autonomy and horizontal accountability. Municipalities and schools are responsible for making decisions about how to use and allocate their resources. This provides good conditions for managing resources effectively and for making sure resource decisions meet local needs. At the same time, municipalities and schools are held accountable for and supported in the management of their resources. There is a high level of financial commitment to education. Expenditure per student has always been clearly above average expenditures in the OECD and the EU. Recent policies, however, have acknowledged that better learning outcomes for all students are possible without using more of society’s resources on education. Concerning equity in funding, the Danish funding system entails explicit mechanisms for equalisation between municipalities and schools. The country’s approach to funding municipalities reduces differences in financial capacity across municipalities. Within municipalities, the fact that students facing some kind of disadvantage need extra resources and follow-up is widely accepted and school funding mechanisms typically take socio-economic characteristics of a school’s student body into account.


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