The case for a payment by results commissioning model for one-to-one educational support for children in care

8 Nov 2018

Equal Education is a social enterprise that recruits and trains teachers to work one to one with Looked After Children to reduce the observed reduction that care status has on educational attainment and narrow the education gap. Equal Enterprise approached PBE to conduct a review of existing evidence on educational attainment and look into different commissioning approaches.

For this project, we matched Department for Education volunteer Khalida Choudhury with Equal Education, who was supported by Economic Associate Jon Franklin. The project team adopted a phased approach, with three key stages:

1. Review of available evidence relating to additional educational support for Looked After Children;

  • This stage examines the existing evidence on the impacts of tuition on GCSE performance, the impacts of GCSE performance on life outcomes, the impact of improved life outcomes on public finances, and comparative costs of the programme.

2. Modelling impact on government revenue and expenditure

  • This stage looks at the analysis itself, assessing the net fiscal impacts for different success rates and creating an illustrative scenario for Equal Education’s programme. The potential fiscal saving is likely to exceed the costs provided the success rate and impact on life outcome both exceed 40-50%, with the biggest savings coming from reduced expenditure on Universal Credit and increased tax revenues. The impacts are long term in that it would likely take in excess of 10 years for the benefits to outweigh the costs.

3. Review of factors affecting viability of a payment by results system

  • The stage looks into the scale of the total potential savings, building on the stage 2 analysis to show that there were 4900 Looked After Children reaching the end of Key Stage 4 in England in 2016, of which 44% attained good results in English and Maths. If this proportion matched that of other pupils (77%) then an additional 1300 pupils would have achieved good results. A Looked After Child with poor results costs the taxpayer around £72,000 over the 20-year period reviewed, versus £52,000 for a Looked After Child with good GCSEs – a £20,000 saving for each child in the attainment gap. As such, closing the attainment gap in 2016 could have saved the public purse up to £26 million over a 20-year period. These findings are used to look into the viability of a payment by results system.

The report is supported by a calculator tool, which will enable organisations to estimate the impact of their work and is due to be released in the New Year.

Thanks go to Khalida and Jon for their work completing this report, which can be downloaded below.

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