This report is important because it is the first time that the school choice reforms introduced in Sweden are referred to an example of best practice which the UK should look to follow.  Seven years after this original research was published, the free school reforms were introduced in the UK.

Showing the practical benefits that education choice has brought in other countries, the authors develop a no-nonsense plan to open UK education up to the same choice and competition that is already improving school standards in the most disadvantaged communities in Europe and the US. The plan aims to improve equality, access and diversity by allowing parents an escape from failing schools, empowering parental choice, and boosting the provision of new non-state community schools.

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1. Three core principles

  • Equality
  • Autonomy
  • Diversity

2. Three market approaches

  • Alternative funding
  • Alternative schools: Public support of private schools
  • Alternative providers

3. The evidence

  • Raising standards in education: the evidence
  • Enhancing opportunity for all: the evidence
  • Promoting choice, diversity and innovation

4. Proposals for reform

  • The A+ Plan: tackling failing schools
  • The Education Fund: a trial universal choice plan
  • Educational Tax credits: extending current systems

4.4 To boldly go