Schools are given perverse incentives where successful schools find it harder to attract additional resources, say the authors of Funding Failure: How Schools Pay for Success.
By focusing money on particular problems, such as anti-social behaviour and pupil attainment, the standards fund penalises heads who have a clear strategy for their school, the report argues.
Published by Politeia, a right-of-centre think tank, the report says successful schools could miss out on more than pound;100,000 per year.
"The school with poor results or badly behaved pupils will get extra funds, while the school from the same catchment area with good results or well behaved pupils will miss out," it said.
The authors argue that headteachers' time is wasted by the complexity of a system which does not allow proper planning and they call for a single funding stream for schools.
"A system is needed which is simple and stable and places more emphasis on success in distributing funding," they say.
Funding Failure: How schools pay for success by Adrian Butler, Dr Gabriel Stein and Nicholas Boys Smith is available from firstname.lastname@example.org