We know the score with science

18th January 2013 at 00:00

I read with interest that Science Community Representing Education (Score) is arguing that the government should continue to fund 16-19 education on a per-qualification basis ("Funding overhaul could force schools to drop science A levels", 11 January). Current funding reforms will return us to the historical norm and restore per-student funding post-16, in line with the rest of schooling. Score believes that this will reduce schools' willingness to offer science A levels.

The empirical evidence, however, does not support Score's argument. On the contrary, it indicates that per-qualification funding has been bad for the uptake of science as well as for the quality of post-16 education more generally.

A qualification-based system provides schools with strong incentives - but not to offer the "best-funded" qualification. Instead, it encourages them to offer the most "profitable" courses. As I and others have found, this system has a pernicious effect on quality.

Alison Wolf, Sir Roy Griffiths professor of public sector management at King's College London and author of the Wolf review.

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