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.

This report is the first in a series of thematic comparative reports which bring together the findings of a major OECD project on the effective use of school resources, the OECD Review of Policies to Improve the Effectiveness of Resource Use in Schools (School Resources Review). Forthcoming reports will focus on the organisation of the school offer and on the management of human resources in school education. The School Resources Review was launched in 2013 to help countries exchange best practices and learn from one another, and to gather and disseminate evidence of what works in school resource policies. The project highlights issues and explores ideas for policy development that may be difficult to raise in national debates. It seeks to inform discussions among stakeholders with new and different perspectives that are based on research and evidence from different countries. This ambition also underpins the idea of the thematic comparative reports and the work behind them.

This report was co-authored by Luka Boeskens, Gonçalo Lima, Deborah Nusche (co-ordinator), Thomas Radinger and Claire Shewbridge from the OECD Directorate for Education and Skills. The work on this report was led by project managers Deborah Nusche (since December 2016) and Paulo Santiago (January to July 2016). Paulo Santiago co-ordinated the initial structure and extended outline of this report. Joris Ranchin led the initial stages of the qualitative data collection on countries’ approaches to school funding. Eleonore Morena was responsible for the production and layout of the report and contributed to editing and proofreading. Meral Gedik, Florence Guerinot and Anne-Lise Prigent provided valuable advice on the production of the report. Cassandra Davis advised on communication and dissemination activities.