Six second-year economics students at the University of Sussex have just learnt a valuable lesson about market forces in the course of acting as part-time consultants to the education department at Brighton and Hove council. Sian Morgan, one of the six, says that their involvement was a success partly because "we are cheaper than Andersen Consulting".
The six looked at a number of problem areas of school funding. One was the way in which the curriculum protection allocation works. This is money assigned to ensure that smaller schools can deliver the whole national curriculum. At the moment getting one extra pupil can cost a school Pounds 30 a student as it goes over the critical size for the cash, so Ms Morgan recommended allotting the money in a way that has fewer big step changes.