Report card

Think tank: Adam Smith Institute

Author(s): Tim Ambler

May 18, 2022

This report from UK think tank the Adam Smith Institute looks at reforming the Department of Education.

The Adam Smith Institute’s latest discussion paper, written by Tim Ambler, proposes a number of reforms to improve the efficiency and value for money of the Department for Education. This paper is part of the Adam Smith Institute’s “Reforming the Civil Service” series. The Department for Education has a number of arm’s length bodies that should be dropped, delegated elsewhere or streamlined; Opportunities for reform include: Merging the Standards and Testing Agency (STA) with Ofsted; Transferring all responsibility for education and skills funding to the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) whilst passing its other policy and implementation roles back to the Department for Education’s HQ; Simplifying the types of revenue and capital grants to schools and education/skills providers as well as the process by which they are administered; Overhauling the student loan system by allowing students to sell equity stakes in their future earnings; Merging the Office for Students (OfS) into Ofsted, transferring grant-giving responsibility to the ESFA; Transferring industry training boards (such as the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board and the Construction Industry Training Board) to their associated industries; Turning Ofqual and Ofsted into Executive Agencies of the Department for Education; Taken together, these changes could drastically improve efficiency by reducing the headcount by 68% and thereby provide the taxpayer with greater value for money.