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For-profit Schools in England: the state of a nation

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Publication details

JournalJournal of education policy
DateAccepted/In press - 9 May 2018
DateE-pub ahead of print (current) - 28 May 2018
Number of pages16
Early online date28/05/18
Original languageEnglish


Trends towards the marketisation of the schooling sector have led to suggestions that state-funded schools in England will soon be allowed to operate on a for- profit basis. This article has two aims: to contribute to understanding of the regulation and characterisation of existing for-profit schools in England; and to assess the claim that for-profit schools ‘significantly outperform’ all independent schools (Croft, 2010) by exploring the use of large scale databases including the National Pupil Database (NPD). This study highlights the growth of the for-profit sector, and the scarcity of legislation detailing the financial governance, educational oversight and staffing requirements of schools in the for-profit schooling sector. The for-profit schooling sector is found to be underperforming in terms of school inspection ratings at a level of statistical significance in comparison to the state funded schooling sector. Furthermore, performance indicators relating to GCSE and A level results suggest that the for-profit sector is underperforming compared to the not-for-profit independent sector. As such, the findings of this research have implications in undermining the neoliberal argument that has driven significant change in the schooling landscape in recent times.

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© 2018 informa UK limited, trading as taylor & francis Group. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy. Further copying may not be permitted; contact the publisher for details

    Research areas

  • for-profit schools, profit motive, inspection outcomes, academic outcomes

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