From education to employment

Department for Education – Statistics at DfE

Neil McIvor DfE Chief Statistician

3 February 2022: Correction to apprenticeship national achievement rates

An error has been discovered which affects the 2019 to 2020 national apprenticeship achievement rate, which was originally published in March 2021 in the apprenticeships and traineeships release.

The error has identified people who had withdrawn from their apprenticeship programme but who, at the time of publishing, were thought to have continued into the next year.

In line with the code of practice for statistics, we have taken down rates for 2019 to 2020 until new data is available. This only impacts on the section in the release headed ‘National Achievement Rate Tables’ (NARTs). Other areas of the release are not affected. I would like to apologise for this error and for the data being unavailable while the updated figures are calculated.

My teams need to complete the full production cycle for 2020 to 2021 in order to provide new data for 2020 to 2021 and revisions to any preceding years which will include full quality assurance of the 2019 to 2020 data.

The error is likely to lead to a reduction to the overall 2019 to 2020 rate that was previously published, but the size of the impact can only be robustly quantified once the revised data is calculated. This revised data for 2019 to 2020 will form part of the national high-level 3-year time series, containing data for 2018/2019 to 2020/2021, which is scheduled for publication in March 2022. Once that data has been calculated and quality assured, national level data for 2019 to 2020 will be available again.

In publishing the 2019 to 2020 NARTs in March 2021 the release did not contain any provider-level data, including provider type following the government’s announcement that the data would not be used for accountability purposes. The release only covered high-level national aggregations which are made available for transparency only.

For provider-level data, you should use the last full data published for 2018 to 2019.

Neil McIvor, DfE Chief Statistician

28 January 2021: Correction to workforce absence data for teaching assistants and other staff

An error was identified that affected national level absence rates for ‘teaching assistants and other staff’ published on 19 January in the ‘Attendance in education and early years settings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak’ statistical publication.

The affected data were removed from the publication on 27 January and corrected on 28 January. Known users of this data are being contacted directly to alert them to this correction.

The error meant that absence rates were overreported for ‘teaching assistants and other staff’ at national level. The corrected data shows that teaching assistants and other staff have broadly similar absence rates to teachers and school leaders.

A full list of affected measures and further detail about the cause of this error is available in the methodology section of the release. Data used by government as management information, as set out in the ‘data sharing’ section of the publication, was unaffected.

I would like to apologise for this error and assure you that I take the issue of data quality very seriously. We are reviewing how this was missed through our checking processes to improve them in future.

Neil McIvor, DfE Chief Statistician

1 December 2020: Further breakdowns to be provided within the publication ‘Attendance in education and early years settings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak’ scheduled for 15 December and subsequent releases

From 15 December we will include local authority breakdowns including by pupil attendance and an update will be provided half-termly. Additionally school workforce data will be published in the new year.

Neil McIvor, DfE Chief Statistician

6 November 2020: Statistical publications for key stage 4 performance and A level and other 16 to 18 results

Following the changes to the way qualifications were awarded in 2020 due to coronavirus (COVID-19) the decision has already been announced not to publish school level performance tables. We have now also reviewed the content of our planned statistical publications, specifically:

  • Key stage 4 performance 2020
  • A level and other 16 to 18 results: 2019 to 2020

We have decided to make the following changes.

Breakdowns of attainment by pupil characteristics will be published in November.

In 2020 the final grade awarded to pupils was the higher of the grade submitted by their centre and the grade calculated by Ofqual. Pupils have been awarded their grades and we will report on the final grades awarded, whilst making it clear to users of the statistics that year on year changes might be caused by the different process for awarding qualifications in 2020 rather than reflecting a change in underlying performance.

We have decided it is not appropriate to publish progress 8 and level 3 value added progress measures. These are normally calculated by comparing a pupil’s actual results to a set of expected results produced by a model based on national averages. The difference between the estimated results and the actual results are described as pupils making more or less progress than expected. However in 2020 the vast majority of grades awarded were those submitted by schools and colleges. The difference between a result submitted by the centre to a result estimated by a model would have very little meaning. It would not be appropriate to consider such a difference as a measure of the progress made by a pupil.

We will publish the results as awarded in the summer, and breakdowns of these results by the usual characteristics. We will not publish data which compares results awarded to an estimated or modelled set of results for pupils.

Ofqual have already published extensive material on the grading of GCSEs, AS and A levels in summer 2020.

There will not be a ‘revised’ publication in January following the decision not to publish school level performance tables, or have the associated checking exercise, based on 2020 results.

Neil McIvor, DfE Chief Statistician

1 May 2020: Publication of ‘Coronavirus (COVID-19): attendance in education and early years settings’ transparency data

Following the announcement that all educational settings would close from Friday 20 March – except for children of critical workers and vulnerable children – we developed a process by which educational settings in England could report daily on important information that would help us understand the impacts of the decision. This information includes the number of students, teaching and non-teaching staff in attendance. Settings were asked to provide us with this information each day they remained open, and if closed let us know when they planned to reopen, if they knew this.

Additionally, we have since developed a process by which local authorities can regularly report similar information on available early years childcare provision.

A summary of these returns is now published every Tuesday as a transparency data publication, Coronavirus (COVID-19): attendance in education and early years settings.

26 March 2020: COVID-19 and the production of statistics

Due to coronavirus (COVID-19) we anticipate that there might be some changes to our regular statistical production. The current disruption to the UK could affect some of our statistics and could result in some delays or reductions in the level of breakdowns we are able to publish.

In some cases, the production of data series may need to be suspended. In particular, the decision that schools, colleges and early years settings will be closed to everyone except children of critical workers and vulnerable children from 23 March 2020 will compromise established data collections from these institutions. Where this is the case, we may explore options around using alternative data sources.

Decisions will be made on a case by case basis, taking into account relevant information, with the three pillars of the Code of Practice for Statistics (Trustworthiness, Quality and Value) guiding our decisions. These decisions will be underpinned by the Office for Statistics Regulation’s guidance on changes to statistical outputs during the coronavirus outbreak. Throughout, where disruption is unavoidable, our priority will be to minimise the impact of any discontinuity on the longer term evidence base.

Giving everyone access to statistics at the same time remains a fundamental principle of the Code, but where this cannot be maintained we will be open and transparent about this and any other potential effects on our statistics. We appreciate that clear communication is vital during this period of uncertainty and will advise of any updates to this position at this page.

We expect to cancel the follow publications for 2020 as a result of the assessments not taking place:

  • National curriculum assessments: key stage 2, 2020 (interim). Release date: July 2020
  • National curriculum assessments at key stage 2: 2020 (provisional). Release date: August to September 2020
  • National curriculum assessments at key stage 2: 2020 (revised). Release date: December 2020
  • Multi-academy trust performance at key stage 2, 2020 revised. Release date: December 2020
  • Early years foundation stage profile results in England:2019 to 2020. Release date: October 2020
  • Phonics screening check and key stage 1 assessments: England 2020. Release date: September to October 2020
  • Multiplications tables check: 2020. Release date: September to October 2020

This list is not exhaustive and we are currently working through impacts on other statistics. We will not publish School Performance Tables in 2020. See updates on our upcoming statistics.

In more positive news we have today launched our new official statistics dissemination platform, Explore Education Statistics (EES). Over the next year, EES will operate in parallel with existing statistics pages on GOV.UK as publications are moved to the new platform. A huge amount of development and user research has gone into this service to date, and we’re excited to hear your feedback to help inform any improvements and refinements to improve functionality further.

This is genuinely world-leading work which will change the look and feel of our statistics, making it significantly easier for all users to find, access, navigate, and understand our evidence base. Alongside streamlined high level summaries of key messages, there is new functionality to explore the underlying data and create your own bespoke tables.

Neil McIvor, DfE Chief Statistician

Ad hoc statistics and data releases

Our ad hoc statistics and other data releases which are not part of our regular official statistics publications can be found in the DfE transparency data section of GOV.UK.

Forthcoming releases

Publication dateRelease title
27 January 2022Period products scheme: 2021 management information
10 March 2022DfE external data shares
9 June 2022DfE external data shares
15 September 2022DfE external data shares
8 December 2022DfE external data shares

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