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Expert conference discusses needs-based allocation of funds for schools

How can educational equity be improved in Germany? A conference organised by the ABBAUBAR project, which is based at the Leibniz Institute for Educational Trajectories (LIfBi), examined the challenges and solutions of needs-based resource management for schools in socially disadvantaged areas. Among the issues discussed were the optimisation of cooperation between education authorities and the shortage of staff.

Under the title "More money for poor schools? Implementation of a demand-driven allocation of resources in the education policy multi-level system" numerous education experts met to discuss the fairer distribution of resources in the education system on 6th and 7th of June.


The conference focused on the reform proposal of a needs-based resource allocation strategy. The objective of this initiative is to provide additional resources, such as teaching positions, school social workers, and budgets, to schools with a high proportion of students from economically disadvantaged families. These schools aim to enhance student support through smaller classes and supplementary language learning programs. This approach is already being implemented by numerous federal states and municipalities, and serves as the foundation for the “Startchancen” programme, which will commence in the 2024/25 school year.

Improving collaboration between federal states and municipalities

The objective of “treating inequality unequal” does not only affect schools and the curriculum. It also challenges the education policy and administration. Furthermore, the conference included various exchange formats for and with representatives from the fields of education policy, administration, practice, and civil society. A central outcome was the conclusion that collaboration between the various educational sectors of federal states and municipalities is necessary to achieve effective demand-driven resource allocation. Currently, there is a lack of coordination between various funding programmes and design approaches in many locations.

Staff shortage solutions

One of the most pressing matters on the agenda was the significant shortage of personnel, which can result in additional posts being left unfilled, thus exacerbating the already challenging situation in schools in socially disadvantaged areas.
One potential solution could be the transfer of grammar school teachers with civil servant status. However, this could potentially lead to further challenges and tensions. Another alternative could involve reorganising teacher training by placing more trainee teachers in schools in socially challenging environments. This would aim to encourage these professionals to possibly remain in the schools after their training period.

The conference, funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, was organised by the team of the joint project "ABBAUBAR" . The venue was the Social Science Centre (WZB) in Berlin.

Further information on the speakers and the conference schedule can be found in the final programme in German language (link). 

More information on the ABBAUBAR project can be found on the project page in German language (link).

Prof. Dr. Marcel Helbig in an interview with "Campus Schulmanagement" in German language (Link).

Dr. Norbert Sendzik on "Deutschlandfunk" in German language (Link).


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