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  • Author or Editor: Stephanie Thomson x
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This chapter analyses spending, outputs and outcomes in relation to schools in England between 2007/8 and 2014/15. Schools were relatively protected from the public spending cuts made by the Coalition government from 2010 onwards, while rapid and extensive reforms were made in almost every aspect of policy. Moves towards a broader vision of schooling under the Labour government from 2007 to 2010 were rapidly overturned by the Coalition, which introduced an increasingly ‘rigorous’ academic curriculum and assessment regime. Major steps were made towards school an autonomous school system, with 61% of secondary schools becoming Academies. Teacher training was radically reformed. Early indications suggest that there are substantial challenges in managing the new system and that despite efforts to support disadvantaged students through a new ‘Pupil Premium’, socio-economic inequalities remain wide and may be even be exacerbated by some of the Coalitions other reforms.

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This chapter analyses spending, outputs and outcomes in relation to further education and skills in England between 2007/8 and 2014/5, as well as policies and trends relating to access to higher education. Expenditure on further education and adult skills training was heavily cut by the Coalition government, after expansion under Labour. Numbers of learners fell and there was no progress in closing socio-economic gaps. Controversial measures to treble university tuition fees did not result in a fall in the proportions of young people going to university or to widening socio-economic gaps, although part time and mature student participation suffered ‘precipitous falls’. The chapter concludes that despite modest progress towards increasing quality and employer engagement, there remain substantial concerns about the post-16 learning and skills system in England and its capacity either to promote increased productivity or greater social justice.

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