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The Public/Private Debate in Education. Tim Hill Director of Studies, CEAS Director of Academic Development, Graduate School of Education. The English School System. Private (Independent) Sector Owned, funded and largely regulated privately by not-for-profit or for-profit organisations.

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the public private debate in education

The Public/Private Debate in Education

Tim Hill

Director of Studies, CEAS

Director of Academic Development, Graduate School of Education

the english school system
The English School System

Private (Independent) Sector

  • Owned, funded and largely regulated privately by not-for-profit or for-profit organisations.
  • Generally known as “Public Schools”
private sector
Private Sector

Does anyone know the names of any famous English Public Schools?

state sector
State Sector
  • Owned, funded and regulated by central and local government.
  • “Maintained Schools”
in 2004
In 2004
  • Private Sector had 611,560 students 8%
  • State Sector had 7,520,420 students 92%
The state became involved in providing education in the second half of the 19th century – initially elementary schooling, then secondary in the 20th century.
school fees
School Fees

The broad range of fees at independent schools in 2005-2006 is as follows:

Preparatory schools

(5-7) NT$150,000 – 300,000 (Day)

(8 – 13) NT$240,000 – 600,000 (Day ) NT$600,000 – 900,000 (Boarding)

school fees1
School Fees

Secondary schools (11/13-18)

NT$400,000 – 1,000,000 (Day)

NT$1,000,000 – 1,500,000 (Boarding)

private sector1
Private Sector

So, why are parents willing to pay so much for their child’s education when they could get it free?

private sector2
Private Sector
  • 75% of students live at post codes with incomes above the national average.
  • 9.7 students per teacher – half the number for the state sector
  • Male graduates from the most expensive schools earn 7% more than state school graduates.
private sector3
Private Sector
  • Increase in boarding numbers is due to increasing numbers of overseas students (around 5% of total) worth around NT$20 billion per year.
  • Average UK fees are 60% higher than Australia; 20% higher than USA
where do they come from
Where do they come from?
  • Hong Kong: 26.8%
  • China: 13.5%
  • Germany: 11.6%
  • Taiwan: 1.4% (but rising strongly)
four main types of school in the state sector
Four Main Types of School in the State Sector

Community schools

Owned and regulated by local government – the Local Authority (LA)

Foundation schools

Formerly LA schools but now owned and operated by the governing body or a charitable foundation.

Voluntary Aided

Owned and regulated by a charitable foundation – mostly churches.

Voluntary Controlled

Owned by a charitable foundation, virtually all churches, but the LA regulates them and employs the staff.

schools in the state sector
Schools in the State Sector


City Technology Colleges

Independent all-ability, non fee-paying schools for pupils aged 11-18 funded directly by central government. Initial funding partly from private sponsors. Only 14 schools.

One in Bristol

schools in the state sector1
Schools in the State Sector



Independent all-ability, non fee-paying schools for pupils aged 11-18 funded directly by central government but each is owned by a charitable company.

Established by sponsors from business, faith or voluntary groups working with the community.

They were originally set up as a way of bringing high-quality schools with heavy investment in facilities and technology to disadvantaged areas to replace failing schools.

Labour government has target of 200 by 2010. 27 open; 69 in development.

2 under development in Bristol.

the privatisation trend
The Privatisation Trend
  • The transfer of public assets and/or money to the private sector.
  • Includes the provision of services by the private sector that were formerly provided by the public sector.
  • Means a shift in control and a change in the structures through which services are provided.
the privatisation trend1
The Privatisation Trend
  • Found internationally.
  • Not only in Education.
  • Encouraged by World Trade Organisation (WTO) under its Liberalisation of Public Services policy.
examples of privatisation in education in england
Examples of Privatisation in Education in England

Types of school

City Technology Colleges



examples of privatisation in education in england1
Examples of Privatisation in Education in England

Outsourcing –

Contracting-Out of Service Provision

Where schools or government buy services from external private sector providers rather than provide those services themselves.

  • Teachers’ Pension Scheme – administered by Capita
  • School Inspections – handful of major contractors e.g. Nord Anglia; CfBT; Cambridge Education Associates.
outsourcing contracting out of service provision
Outsourcing – Contracting-Out of Service Provision


  • school buses;
  • educational psychologists;
  • school meals;
  • financial management;
  • human resource management;
  • grounds maintenance;
  • payroll
outsourcing contracting out of service provision1
Outsourcing – Contracting-Out of Service Provision

The Rise of EMOs

Educational Management Organisations

For-profit and non-profit management companies engaged in providing services and “strategic partnerships” to public bodies providing education.

the rise of emos
The Rise of EMOs

Four S

Vosper-Thorneycroft and Surrey County Council have formed a joint company to offer services to schools including: facilities management; human resource management; health & safety; curriculum.

strategic partnerships
“Strategic Partnerships”

10 under-performing Local Authorities have private sector partners delivering some or all or their services under contract:

Bradford (Serco), Hackney (Nord Anglia),

Haringey (Capita), Islington (CEA), Leeds (Capita), Sandwell (Nord Anglia), Southwark (WS Atkins), Swindon (Tribal), Walsall (SercoCAA),

Waltham Forest (Nord Anglia/Amey).

public finance initiatives pfis
Public Finance Initiatives(PFIs)
  • A way of increasing the resources for public services without increasing taxes or public sector borrowing.
  • Projects to improve or replace school buildings and/or to provide ancillary services such as heating, catering, ICT services and general facilities management.
  • The Labour Government plans to replace or renew 15,000 secondary schools in 10 years.
public finance initiatives pfis1
Public Finance Initiatives(PFIs)

According to the Department for Education and Skills:

PFI is a means of delivering better and more cost-effective public services by bringing the private sector more directly into the provision of the assets the public sector needs.

PFI is about more than just financing and accounting — it aims to exploit the full range of private sector management, commercial and creative skills.

Schools PFI projects involve LEAs buying asset-based services from the private sector such as school buildings, facilities such as sports halls or specific services including heating systems, ICT or catering equipment.

Usually the PFI contractor owns and operates the buildings/facilities/equipment, and would be able to generate income from commercial use outside school hours.

flagship pfi schools are significantly worse the guardian
Flagship PFI schools are "significantly worse"- “The Guardian”

“Schools built by profit-making firms under a flagship public-private scheme are "significantly worse" in terms of space, heating, lighting and acoustics than new traditionally funded primaries and secondaries, a watchdog warned today.

The Audit Commission concluded that the early years of the Private Finance Initiative did not produce schools that were better designed and better value for money than ones built by councils that raised the money themselves.”


Voluntary Controlled Schools

The Public-Private Continuum

Public Finance Initiatives

Voluntary Aided Schools

Strategic Partnerships

Independent Schools

Community Schools

Academies & CTCs