Skip to main content

Journal article

Do management practices matter in further education?


Further education and sixth form colleges are key institutions for facilitating skill acquisition among 16-19 year olds in the UK. They enrol half a school cohort after completion of their lower secondary education, and this includes a disproportionate number from low-income backgrounds. Yet little is known about what could improve performance in these institutions. We conduct the world's first management practices survey in such institutions, and match this to administrative longitudinal data on over 40,000 students. Value-added regressions with rich controls suggest that structured management matters for educational outcomes, especially for students from low-income backgrounds. For this group, in a hypothetical scenario where an individual is moved from a college at the 10th percentile of management practices to the 90th, this would be associated with 8% higher probability of achieving a good high school qualification, nearly half of the educational gap between those from poor and non-poor backgrounds. Hence improving management practices may be an important channel for reducing inequalities.


Sandra McNally, Luis Schmidt and Anna Valero

22 March 2024


Economica , pp.1-30, 2024


DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/ecca.12520

10.1111/ecca.12520

This work is published under POID and the CEP's Growth programme.