Education in the United Kingdom is facing unique challenges. Even before the disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the UK education system grappled with various issues. Now, as the educational landscape continues to evolve, the Department of Education is leaning towards outcomes-based funding as a potential game-changer.

In this blog post, we’ll explore why the Department of Education is increasingly interested in qualitative impact data and how outcomes-based funding could reshape the education sector in the UK.


The Potential of Outcomes-Based Funding in Education | Purlos


The UK’s Educational Challenges:

Pre-existing challenges in the UK education sector have been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Issues such as learning loss, disparities in educational access, and skills gaps have become more pronounced.

As the UK strives to address these challenges, outcomes-based funding is gaining attention as a strategic approach.


Outcomes-Based Funding:

Outcomes-based funding is a model that emphasises achieving specific educational outcomes rather than simply tracking inputs or activities.

Dr. Emily Gustafsson-Wright, a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, highlights that while outcomes-based funding may not be a one-size-fits all solution, it offers a path to addressing the learning crisis effectively within the UK.


Benefits of Outcome-Based Funding:

Flexibility is a key advantage of outcomes-based funding. It allows educational organisations to tailor interventions to suit the unique needs of learners and the context.

Grace Wood, an Education Adviser for FCDO Ghana, noted how aligning financing to results and concentrating on the end outcomes for children encouraged innovation and creativity, particularly crucial in the uncertain pandemic context. This flexibility allows real-time efficiency improvements, maximising the value for money invested.



Long-term Impact and Progression:

Outcomes-based funding doesn’t just improve learning outcomes; it also fosters a shift in government mindsets towards an outcomes-focused approach. 

Miléna Castellnou, Chief Programs Officer at the Education Outcomes Fund (EOF), stresses how this approach can drive systemic change in program design and strengthen ecosystems in the long run. 

By focusing on data collection and testing various interventions, the UK government gains insights into what works and can scale up successful programs in the future.


Cost-Effectiveness and Data Challenges:

One critical aspect of outcomes-based funding is its cost-effectiveness. 

Research conducted in India showcased a 50% higher learning outcome achievement for outcomes-based funding compared to traditional settings, with similar costs.

The flexibility to pivot interventions ensures cost efficiency by preventing unnecessary spending on ineffective activities. 




In the quest for a more effective education system in the UK, outcomes-based funding stands as a promising solution. 

The Department of Education is increasingly recognising its potential, seeking qualitative impact data to drive informed decision-making. 

With flexibility, cost-effectiveness, and a focus on tangible outcomes, outcomes-based funding could play a pivotal role in reshaping the education sector, providing hope for a brighter educational future.


Amber Cousins