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Conference Paper Monday Afternoon Seminar Series

Excellence in Cities: Evaluation of an Education Policy in Disadvantaged Areas


Publication date

06 Mar 2006


In recent years, the Excellence in Cities policy has been the UK government's flagship policy for raising standards in inner-city schools. The policy now covers over one-third of secondary schools in England. In this paper, we evaluate its effectiveness in raising performance in national tests of Mathematics and English for pupils of age 14 and in increasing attendance at school. We find the policy to have had a positive impact on school attendance and performance in Mathematics (though not for English). There is marked heterogeneity in the effectiveness of the policy. Its greatest impact has been in more disadvantaged schools and on the performance of middle-high ability students within these schools. A back-of-envelope cost-benefit analysis suggests that the policy is likely to be cost-effective.
This evaluation contributes to the debate on the potential effectiveness of resource-based policies; the efficacy of policies designed to improve educational outcomes of high school pupils (as opposed to early years interventions); and ways in which policies can help turn around the fortunes of inner city schools.


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