School performance tables: how to interpret the data

How to use school and college performance data to interpret pupil attainment and progress, and compare schools and colleges in England.



This guide covers factors that can affect data in the school performance tables.

Use the guide if you’re:

  • a parent, to compare your child’s performance and achievements to others in the school, college, local authority or England as a whole
  • a school governor, to improve school performance
  • in DfE or a government body, monitoring educational standards in England
  • in Ofsted, assessing school or college standards
  • in Ofqual, looking for evidence as part of a review to set and maintain standards
  • a local authority looking for evidence to hold a school to account
  • a school:
    • looking for data to evaluate your school’s performance against national standards
    • carrying out analysis or self-evaluation
  • a researcher analysing school data results
Published 31 March 2016
Last updated 25 January 2018 + show all updates
  1. Updated the HTML document in line with the 2017 school performance tables publication.
  2. Added information on comparing key stage 4 data year-on-year and comparing unapproved key stage 4 qualifications.
  3. Added information about changes to the way we count key stage 4 qualifications since 2014.
  4. First published.