...and the lessons we can learn

Education reforms that allow new educational providers to supply schooling into a state system can improve parental satisfaction and raise learning outcomes through consumer choice. Private school choice programmes in the US have been shown to strengthen the civic virtues of young citizens. Choice provides children with schooling that matches their interests. A child engaged ... Continue reading

The Dubious Case for Free School Breakfasts

Summary:  The Conservative Party’s manifesto for the June 2017 general election included a policy to replace free school lunches with free school breakfasts for all school children. After the election, the policy was abandoned. The Conservative manifesto justified the policy by appealing to research into the educational effects of free school breakfasts conducted by the ... Continue reading

Embrace private sector education in post-conflict states to improve standards

Summary:  Low-cost private schools are ubiquitous across the developing world. This book explores their nature and extent in some of the world’s most difficult places, three conflictaffected states in sub-Saharan Africa: Liberia, Sierra Leone and South Sudan. The accepted wisdom of international agencies on education in conflict-affected states acknowledges that some kinds of low-cost private ... Continue reading

Many families now spend a third of their net income on childcare

Summary:  Decisions on childcare arrangements were largely a private matter until the 1990s. A political consensus has since arisen that government action is needed to raise the quality of provision, to make it more affordable and to support parental labour market attachment. Childcare and pre-school policy is accordingly a fast-growing area of state intervention. The ... Continue reading

New research from the IEA outlines the serious shortfalls of the REF scheme as a way to fund higher education.

Summary The Research Excellence Framework (REF) assesses the research generated by UK universities. Most recently conducted in 2014, it is used by the national higher education funding councils (HEFCE in England) to help in allocating Quality Research (QR) money.  It is likely that the REF directly influences the distribution of less than £1.5 billion, representing ... Continue reading

Levy on graduate earnings should replace state funding of universities

Summary: ·      Although graduates tend, on average, to earn more than non-graduates, the ‘graduate premium’ varies greatly by subject and by year of graduation. It also varies significantly between individuals. ·      There is considerable uncertainty about how the graduate premium will evolve for the coming generation of students given rapid technological change and its impact ... Continue reading
Universities in the UK have traditionally operated under a common system which institutionalises important restrictive practices. They have operated in a cartel whose output had been regulated by government. The individual firms (ie universities) are allocated quotas of students by government, and fees and salaries are set in ways that are typical of a classic ... Continue reading

Education reforms must go further

Incentivising Excellence considers the conditions that need to prevail for school choice to fulfil its promise in relation to improving educational outcomes. It contends that without attention to system design and supporting reforms geared to fundamentally altering the incentive structure in education, there is little reason to suggest that choice will generate significant gains. The book ... Continue reading

Education reforms at risk unless government allows for-profit free schools

Executive Summary: The criticism of the ‘profit motive’ in education is unjustified: we should not be concerned about the corporate structure of organisations that provide educational services. Furthermore, while people are disparaging about the profit motive they ignore other self-interested motives operating within the education sector, such as those within teachers’ unions, government educational bureaucracies, ... Continue reading

An analysis of how the profit motive drove competition and therefore improvements in the Swedish education system

This IEA Discussion Paper looks at the role of for-profit schools in Sweden and for the first time provides quantitative evidence regarding how these schools perform. The competition that drove improvements in the Swedish system was only possible because of the high number of for-profit schools that were established. This research clearly shows that: Under ... Continue reading