Education Policy Institute – School Funding

Project aim

The aim of this research project is to assess the effect of current and proposed funding systems for pupils with English as an Additional Language (EAL) - and the potential of the new English proficiency assessments made by schools to inform funding - and to draw lessons from this analysis for the future development of funding policy. Linked to this, the research will investigate new ways of assessing the educational performance of pupils with EAL, and consider the potential for improving accountability for the effective use of these funds to improve educational outcomes.

Project partner

The Education Policy Institute is an independent, impartial and evidence-based research institute that aims to promote high quality education outcomes, regardless of social background.

EPI's mission and purpose is to:

  • Advance education for the benefit of the public, by promoting the study and discussion of, and the exchange and dissemination of information and knowledge concerning education policy and outcomes in England and elsewhere in the world;
  • Communicate our findings (based on rigorous analysis, empirical evidence and detailed knowledge) effectively to a wide range of audiences to maximise their impact on policy and inform the public debate;
  • Promote high quality educational outcomes for all, meeting World Class standards, regardless of social backgrounds through our rigorous analysis and research; and
  • Achieve significant impact and shape the policy agenda.

About the project

Since 2011, specific central government funding for EAL pupils ended and the Ethnic Minority Achievement Grant was subsumed into the broader Dedicated Schools Grant. While this meant that local authorities could still pass funding to schools based on their proportions of pupils with EAL, reforms to local funding arrangements have restricted the ability of authorities to retain funding to provide a central support function. It is unclear how much funding has reached EAL pupils and how this has been spent over recent years, creating a risk that some of the 1.25 million pupils with recorded EAL could be left behind. We will use quantitative analysis to clarify the current and proposed position of pupils with EAL within the school funding system, and draw lessons for improving this.

Additionally, there is a problem in measuring academic progress for pupils with EAL because many arrive after the Key Stage 2 tests or have results that do not reflect their underlying level of educational development. We will test and assess different ways of contextualising the attainment of these pupils and assess the potential of this approach for improving accountability for EAL funding. We will also use current data on years in the English school system as a proxy to assess potential applications of the forthcoming 5-stage English proficiency data to allocate funding, and will use examples of EAL policy internationally to draw further lessons on how the overall policy landscape can be improved for pupils with EAL.