This report summarises the findings from a qualitative research project carried out in 2018–19.


Making the cut: how schools respond when they are under financial pressures

Ref: 200003PDF, 843KB, 76 pages


This research was not designed to give an overview of the financial situation of schools in general, but to explore how schools make decisions when they are under financial pressure, and what impacts these decisions could have on quality of education.

We asked headteachers in mainstream schools in England to take part in our online survey. We interviewed school leaders and other school staff to further answer our research questions:

  • What are the main financial pressures that their schools are facing?
  • How are decisions made when responding to financial pressure?
  • What decisions are made?
  • What are the wider implications of the responses to financial pressure?

Published 21 February 2020