How Extra Billions 'Have Failed to Raise School Standards'; Struggling: Figures Show That Test Results Have Slumpedgests That the Focus in Educationbeing Paid to the Two Key Core
Byline: Daniel Bates, Simon Cable
BILLIONS of pounds have been wasted on education reforms that havefailed to raise standards in Britain, a powerful international thinktank saidlast night.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development said there had beenno link between the huge amounts of money put in and pupil achievement.
In a highly critical report, it also attacked the Government's obsession withtargets which have skewed school priorities and stopped teenagers getting aproper education.
The analysis says the strategy may have backfired by failing to give pupils theskills needed to progress on to university.
Labour has raised education spending from [pounds sterling]29billion when it came to power, to[pounds sterling]64billion this year. By 2010 it will hit [pounds sterling]74billion, which would equate to[pounds sterling]6,600 per pupil - from just [pounds sterling]2,500 in 1997.
However, the OECD said ploughing extra money into schools had had no directimpact on results. It said ministers should focus on improving efficiency ineducation instead of extra investment.
'There is no strong empirical link between aggregate education spending andpupil achievement so that additional resources do not automatically translateinto better results,' the report said.
'Given the need for tight expenditure control, this suggests that the focus ineducation spending should shift to improving the efficiency of existingspending.
'The Government is considering raising the number of years of compulsoryeducation, but care should be taken to ensure that greater quantity ofeducation is not sought at the expense of quality.' The report, the OECD'sbiannual Economic Survey of the United Kingdom, also attacks the Government'starget culture. In June 1998 ministers stated half of all school leavers shouldachieve at least five C grades in their GCSEs or equivalent in vocationalexams, but this did not include English and maths.
The report states that this led schools to push children into 'easier'vocational courses with not enough attention being paid to the two key coresubjects.
This year 59 per cent of pupils achieved five GCSE passes at grade A* to C - afigure that suggests a high level of success in schools. …