This paper was prepared for the Program on Education Policy and Governance conference: Mobilizing the Private Sector for Public Education. The conference, held on October 5 and 6, 2005 at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, was co-sponsored by the World Bank.
Introduction: Whilst a lot of media and policy attention has recently been devoted to public-private initiatives in the English schooling market, there is remarkably little research on the issue. This is perhaps surprising since the English schooling system has, since the move to a quasi-market that began in the late 1980s (LeGrand, 1991, 1993), been characterised by a lot of enthusiasm directed towards more choice, more competition and an increased role for the market. In this paper we address this question, first looking at the private provision of schooling and how that has adapted over time, and second looking at some of the recent attempts to bring private sector provision to pupils in the state sector.