Schools

Education written question – answered on 4th March 2014.

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Photo of Barry Sheerman Barry Sheerman Labour, Huddersfield

To ask the Secretary of State for Education what analysis his Department has carried out of the comparable value for money of (a) community schools other than academies and (b) free schools.

Photo of David Laws David Laws The Minister of State, Cabinet Office, The Minister for Schools

The Department for Education carried out a review of efficiency in the school system in 2013 and the final report was published in June 2013. The report can be found at:

http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/adminandfinance/financialmanagement/b0069984/vfm

One of the proposals from the review was to develop a new indicator to provide a simple way for schools to compare their overall efficiency against other schools. The Department is currently in the process of developing such an indicator, which will be published as part of a benchmarking report card for each school or academy trust. The report card will show a school's key financial and performance data as compared with similar schools and we plan to send this out annually to all schools and academies.

Currently, spend data for both maintained schools and academy trusts is published annually alongside the performance tables at:

http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/performance/

The finance data are taken from the consistent financial reporting returns, submitted by all maintained schools, and the account returns data for academy trusts. The schools and academies whose data are published in the financial tables are grouped into three broad categories by free school meals bands (high, medium and low), so comparisons can be made between the spending patterns of similar institutions.

The National Audit Office reported in ‘Establishing Free Schools’ (December 2013) that new free schools have been established quickly and at relatively low cost. For example, free schools' average construction costs have been approximately 45% lower than costs in other school building programmes. The report can be found at:

http://www.nao.org.uk/report/establishing-free-schools

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