The education individuals receive and the skills they develop have a critical effect on their prospects. Skills and human capital are critical elements of the Government’s plan to raise living standards and productivity in the UK. The UK spends around 5% of GDP on education. There is convincing evidence that improving the quality of education can have a significant impact on economic performance but ensuring value for money is critical.
Publicly funded education providers are faced with tighter than ever financial conditions, with unprotected areas of spend particularly vulnerable to cuts. There is increased emphasis on ensuring efficiency and effectiveness in the way education funds are spent and ensuring the policy and regulatory framework are fit for purpose.
Government sees addressing skills shortages as a top priority to boost UK productivity. Ensuring schools offer a broad and rigorous academic curriculum, delivering more high quality apprenticeships with greater involvement of employers, and bolstering the international competitiveness and accessibility to all of Higher Education are all key aspects of current policy to increase economic performance. These offer significant opportunities as well as challenges for the nation.
We have provided advice to governments on a range of issues in secondary, further and higher education. Our focus has been on assessing value for money and advising on the role of policy, competition and regulation in delivering value.
We have recently estimated the impact on educational outcomes of over £7 billion of government spending on capital projects across the higher and further education sectors. Our analysis helped to establish which policies have the best impact.
We have advised the UK government on the economics of how best to administer the exam system for 16-year olds. This involved understanding the market for supplying exams. We have also advised on the further education market, higher education policy and the impact of research and development at universities.