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Title: Studies in educational costs
Author: Cumming, Christopher E.
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 1970
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Aims: There were three interlinked aims. To devise a multi-functional cost-accounting system which could be used by Scottish Education Authorities. To analyse the costs of primary and secondary schools in sufficient functional detail to establish the costs of individual schools, different kinds of schools, different activities within schools and, where appropriate, different subjects within schools. To establish procedures for projecting and forecasting the costs of primary and secondary schools for five to ten years ahead. Procedure: A multi-functional cost-accounting system was devised and applied to the accounts of all the schools in a typical Scottish Education Authority for the year 1964/5. Each account was coded according' to categories of a) school (including subdivisions into size and kind), b) school subject (for secondary schools), c) class of expense, d) value of expense. The data was stored on punched cards which were processed according to specific programmes to produce an analysis of the costs of education in that Education Authority. A simplified form of the accounting system was used on a sample of 14 schools in another Education Authority for the years 1961/2, 1964/5 and 1967/8. These investigations were complemented by analysis of the total expenditures of all Scottish Education Authorities for the years 1959 - 1963 and for individual Authorities for the years 1962/3 and 1965/6. Results: 1) . Expenditures related to teaching staff dominate all other heads of current expenditure. Teachers' Salaries and related costs took up roughly 68% of expenditure allocable to Education Authorities in 1962/3, roughly 80% of expenditure allocable to individual primary and secondary schools in 1964/5 and roughly 90% of expenditure allocable to the 'Teaching function' of individual subject departments in 1964/5. (Chapters 3 and 4) 2) . Expenditure per pupil by the Education Authorities rose by 50% in real terms in the years 1959/60 - 1966/67. (Chapter 3) 3). Expenditures per pupil varied by as much as 100% over the 35 Education Authorities and the level of the unit expenditures related closely to the demographic/geographic nature of the Authority. (Chapter 3) 4). Expenditures per pupil, based on one Authority, were shown to be £101 in primary schools and £219 in secondary schools. The ratio of expenditures on teachers in secondary schools to those on teachers in primary schools was rather more than 2:1. The ratio of expenditures on staff teaching years IV-VI of secondary school to those on staff teaching years I-III was roughly 7:4. (Chapter 3) 5). Expenditure on directly educational materials, books, etc., was shown to be only 4.7% - 6% of the level of expenditure on Teacher's Salaries and related costs (Chapters 3 and 4). 6). The expenditures per pupil on individual primary and secondary schools ranged over approximately 250%. (Chapters 3 and 5) 7). Economies of scale were shown to operate in primary schools. For instance, two schools, one of which is eight times the size of the other, will have unit expenditures such that those in the larger will be 57.5% of the level of those in the smaller school (Chapter 5). 8). There is a close association between unit expenditures and pupil/teacher ratios. In primary schools 69% of the variability in unit expenditures can be accounted for by the relationship between unit expenditure and pupil/teacher ratio. In secondary schools the figure is 50% (Chapter 5). 9). Unit expenditures also vary amongst school subjects, and for the same subject amongst schools. Roughly half of the variation in unit expenditures can be ascribed to the relationship between unit expenditures and the average size of class for a subject. (Chapter 4) Teacher distribution between primary and secondary schools was found to be somewhat inelastic in response to change of school rolls over a period of years covering hho 1960's. (Chapter 6) The estimates of expenditure by Scottish Education Authorities for the year 1974/5 based on 1966/7 prices varied from £200m. to £280m. depending on the method of projection and assumptions concerning the numbers of teachers and the sate of growth of their salaries. (Chapter 6) Conclusions Accounting procedures in education should be extended and refined so that they can produce the kind of costing data necessary for management of human, material and financial resources. The impending re-organisation of local government units should give the opportunity for review of both accounting procedures and the collection of pupil and teacher statistics. Expenditures should be allocated to educational programmes and related to human and material inputs in order that the future cost implications of current educational decisions may be evident to administrators.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available