NOTES

Education-related websites

SUBJECTS ON THIS PAGE:

Introduction

Although titled ‘education’, this page is actually about education as it relates to children only.  Education data source for education as it relates to adults is discussed on the page on the Labour Force Survey.

Education is a fully devolved responsibility, meaning that England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland each have their own education policies.  Following this, responsibility for education data is fully devolved, with all four countries having their own education websites.  The material below is therefore organised by country.

Most school-related education data is available from reports published on the relevant countries’ websites.  This data is typically based on administrative counts, either relating to schools (e.g. exclusions) or to individual pupils (e.g. examination results).  In some cases, the underlying school-level or pupil-level datasets can also be requested, allowing for more sophisticated or flexible analyses.

Some education data relates to all schools whilst other data relates to maintained schools only (i.e. excluding independent schools), noting the government policy in recent years has increasingly blurred the distinction between these.  Most education data includes special schools, but some is for mainstream schools only.  Finally, some education data is restricted to academic qualifications only (e.g. GCSEs) whilst other data encompasses their vocational equivalents as well (e.g. NVQs).  Three consequences of all this:

  • When comparing statistics over time or between different geographic areas, it is vital to ensure that the data is genuinely comparable.  It also means that comparisons between the four countries is generally not possible, except for some statistics in England and Wales (because they have the same education system).
  • When presenting any results, it is important to read the fine print that accompanies the data so that the presentation is fully in line with the actual data.
  • The published data may not be quite what you are looking for.  If not, you can take advantage of the requesting services that all four countries provide.

England

Sources

In summary:

  • Responsible government department: Department for Education (DfE, formerly the Department for Children, Schools and Families ).
  • Main website: DfE statistical first releases which contains all English statistical publications about education.
  • Underlying datasets: the National Pupil Database, a large pupil-level dataset is available on request.  School-level performance tables are also available on request.
  • Update frequency: typically annual.
  • Data format: typically tables in either pdf or spreadsheet format, with both often being provided.

Use made of DfE statistical first releases

Report title Update timing Indicator UK graphs Comments
National curriculum assessments at Key Stage 2 in England December Educational attainment at age 11 first The data has to be requested.

Maintained mainstream schools only (i.e. excludes both independent schools and special schools).

fourth Table 8.

All maintained schools (i.e. excludes independent schools but includes special schools).

GCSE and equivalent results in England October (provisional), January (revised) Educational attainment at age 16 first two Table 1

Be careful about presenting the results: the results are now for those starting their Key Stage 4 year (not quite the same as 15-year-olds), all schools (i.e. including independent schools) and all equivalencies (not just GNVQs) as well as GCSEs themselves.

fifth Table number varies from year to year.
Permanent and fixed period exclusions from schools and exclusion appeals in England June School exclusions all Table numbers vary from year to year.

Permanent exclusions only.

Maintained primary and secondary schools plus both maintained and non-maintained special schools.

Sometimes in additional tables on the website rather than in the main publication.

Combine the English data with that for Scotland and Wales to obtain Great Britain-wide results.

Children looked after in England September Looked-after children first and third Tables A1 and G1.
Outcome indicators for looked-after children December Looked-after children second Table C.
Participation in education, training and employment by 16-18 year olds in England June Not in education, employment or training third and fourth Table numbers vary from year to year.
Moving on: pathways taken by young people beyond 16 June Not in education, employment or training fifth Table 16.
Level 2 and 3 attainment by young people in England measured using matched administrative data: attainment by age 19 February Young adults without a basic qualification first and second Tables 1 and 2.
third The ‘by gender’ tables.
fourth The ‘by local authority’ tables.
Free school meals by school (has to be requested) August Concentrations of poor children all This data has to be requested.

Scotland

Sources

In summary:

Use made of the Scottish Government statistics – school education section

Report title Update timing Indicator Scotland graphs Comments
Destination of leavers from Scottish schools December Pupil destinations all Table numbers vary from year to year.

Use made of the Scottish Government statistics – education datasets section

Report title Update timing Indicator Scotland graphs Comments
Schools meal datasets June Concentrations of poor children all Omit grant-maintained schools, special schools and those who did not complete the returns.

The numbers by school are suppressed in the dataset if less than 5.  For the purposes of the analysis, therefore, assume that each is 2 (except if this would put the school into the top fifth, in which case assume 0).

Calculate the proportions in the first graph by multiplying both the numbers eligible for free school meals and the numbers no eligible by the proportion of the pupils who are eligible.

Exclusions datasets December School exclusions all Tables 1 and 10.

Permanent exclusions only.

Wales

Sources

In summary:

  • Responsible government department: Welsh Assembly Government (mostly) and the Local Government Data Unit Wales (pupil database).
  • Main website: Welsh Assembly Government statistical releases – school and teachers section which contain all Welsh Assembly Government publications about school education.
  • Underlying datasets: StatWales, which provides many statistical tables, and the National Pupil Database website, which provides access to the Welsh National Pupils Database for approved users.
  • Other websites: none used..
  • Update frequency: typically annual.
  • Data format: typically tables in either pdf or spreadsheet format, with both often being provided.

Use made of the Welsh Assembly Government statistical releases – school and teachers section

Report title Update timing Indicator Wales graphs Comments
National curriculum assessments of 7, 11 and 14 year olds October Educational attainment at age 11 first Key Stage 2 benchmarking.

Teacher assessments, rather than actual tests (as the latter are no longer undertaken).

Welsh as a subject not included as it is only taught in a small number of schools and thus the statistics jump around a lot from year to year.

An alternative source is the National Pupil Database website

second Table number varies from year to year.
GCSE/GNVQ and GCE A, AS, AVCE and advanced GNVQ results November Educational attainment at age 16 first and third Tables 1 and 3.

Note that this data is actually for pupils in their final year of compulsory education which is not quite the same as 16-year-olds.

This data has traditionally been provisional only.

Schools in Wales: examination performance May Educational attainment at age 16 first and third Tables 2.1 and 4.1.

Overwrite the data from the GCSE/GNVQ and GCE A, AS, AVCE and advanced GNVQ results publication above.

Note that, although the document talks about children aged 15 rather than 16, this is their age at the start of the academic year rather than when they sit the examinations.

This data is final

second This data has to be requested.
Educational Attainment of Young People by Age 19 December Educational attainment at age 19 all
Exclusions from schools March School exclusions all Tables 1 and 2.

Permanent exclusions only.

Free school meals by school (has to be requested) January Concentrations of poor children all This data has to be requested.

Use made of the StatWales

Report title Update timing Indicator Wales graphs Comments
School Census January Concentration of poor children first Use the tables by school.

Northern Ireland

Sources

In summary:

Use made of the Department of Education website – statistics section

Report title Update timing Indicator Northern Ireland graphs Comments
Qualifications and destinations of Northern Ireland school leavers June Educational attainment at age 16 all Tables 1, 4, 7 and 8
Pupil destinations third Table 9
Key Stage 2 results by school (has to be requested) January Educational attainment at age 11 all This data has to be requested.
Free school meals by school (has to be requested) January Concentrations of poor children all This data has to be requested.

Use made of the Northern Ireland Neighbourhood Information Services – education and training section

Report title Update timing Indicator Northern Ireland graphs Comments
School leavers survey Irregular Pupil destinations fourth In terms of deprivation, divide the wards into quintiles using the latest Northern Ireland Multiple Deprivation Measure.

In terms of religion, characterise each ward as ‘catholic’, ‘protestant’ or ‘mixed’ using data from the 2001 Census: a ward is characterised as ‘catholic’ if more than 70% of its population consider themselves to be catholic, ‘protestant’ if more than 70% of its population consider themselves to be protestant, and ‘mixed’ if neither of the above is true.