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Research project

Value for Money in Schools

Project overview

The UK’s Audit Commission appointed FGS (Belfast) and Prof Tony Kelly of the University of Southampton to carry out a review of literature and data in relation to Value for Money (VfM) in schools. The focus was on how schools secure VfM, through procurement and more broadly, how the organisational and governance arrangements in schools can best secure VfM, and the criteria that schools and other stakeholders use to assess VfM. This review of literature and data was commissioned as a precursor to a full national study on VfM in schools, and had implications for a range of stakeholders, including central Government, local authorities and schools themselves. We report on how VfM and cost-effectiveness in schools can best be defined, measured, secured and improved. Our review of literature and data cover the following areas of interest: existing literature on VfM in schools, including consideration of procurement issues; various potential approaches to the definition of VfM in schools, together with the pros and cons of each; available data on schools’ current VfM performance and consideration of the main drivers of performance; and the existing knowledge base of academics, policy-makers and education practitioners in respect of VfM in schools.


Lead researcher

Professor Tony Kelly

Professor of Education

Research interests

  • Education effectiveness
  • Education policy
  • Leadership and improvement

Collaborating research institutes, centres and groups

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