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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-performance-tables-how-we-report-the-data/school-performance-tables-how-we-report-the-data
Read the school performance tables supporting documents to see the methodologies in more depth.
1. How we get the data
We get school and college attainment data from:
- state-funded schools and colleges
- local authorities
- qualification awarding organisations (exam boards)
State-funded schools tell us via the school census:
- the number of pupils at the school
- what the pupils’ characteristics are, for example whether they’re eligible for free school meals
- what courses students are studying post-16 (‘learning aims’)
Colleges tell us via the individualised learner record (ILR):
- the number of students at the college
- what courses students are studying post-16 (‘learning aims’)
Local authorities tell us:
- results from key stage 1 (school years 1 and 2) - we don’t publish these, but use them to measure progress between the end of key stage 1 and the end of key stage 2 (school years 3 to 6)
- teacher assessments and test results from key stage 2 - we can also get these from schools
Qualification awarding organisations tell us exam results for pupils:
- at the end of key stage 4 (years 10 and 11)
- aged 16 to 18 (sixth form and college)
To find out about pupil and student ‘destinations’ (what a student does after finishing key stage 4 or 16 to 18 study), read Destination measures for key stage 4 and 16 to 18 students
2. How we calculate the performance measures
We match data we get from schools and colleges with the relevant test, teacher assessment or exam results we gather from local authorities and qualification awarding organisations.
This gives a single record of attainment and characteristics (for example a pupil’s ethnicity or whether they have special educational needs) for each pupil/student at the end of each key stage.
We then match information about what the pupil/student goes on to do after finishing the key stage to their record, to calculate their destinations.
We use these records to calculate performance measures for each pupil/student. For example, we analyse each key stage 4 pupil’s qualifications and results to see whether they’ve achieved a grade 5 or above in English and maths.
We then aggregate pupil/student-level performance measures to give the overall results for:
- local authorities
- England as a whole
Read about the methodology we use to calculate results for:
- Statistics: key stage 2 - GOV.UK
- GCSE and equivalent results (key stage 4)
- A level and other 16 to 18 results (16 to 18)
- destinations of key stage 4 and key stage 5 pupils
2.1 Key stage 2 - measuring performance
A new curriculum introduced in 2014 changed the key stage 2 assessments and primary accountability policy. The expected standard has been raised and as a result since 2016, we have new key stage 2 performance measures, which should not be compared with the previous measures. The 2017 headline measures that include attainment and progress measures are:
- the percentage of pupils achieving the ‘expected standard’ in English reading, English writing and mathematics at the end of key stage 2
- the pupils’ average scaled score:
- in English reading at the end of key stage 2
- in mathematics at the end of key stage 2
- the percentage of pupils who achieve at a higher standard in English reading, English writing and mathematics
- the pupils’ average progress:
- in English reading
- in English writing
- in mathematics
2.2 Key stage 4 - performance measures
Key stage 4 performance measures have been amended to reflect policy reforms. A new secondary school accountability system was introduced in 2016.
The secondary accountability measures guidance explains how these measures have been calculated in 2017. It also gives more information about recently announced reforms that will apply in 2018 and 2019.
The headline measures which appear in the 2017 performance tables are:
- progress across 8 qualifications (Progress 8)
- attainment across the same 8 qualifications (Attainment 8)
- percentage of pupils achieving a grade 5 or above in English and maths
- percentage of pupils entering the English Baccalaureate
- percentage of pupils at the school achieving the English Baccalaureate at a grade 5 or above in English and maths, and at a grade C or above in other subjects
- percentage of students staying in education or going into employment after key stage 4 (pupil destinations)
2.3 16 to 18 - performance measures
Policy reforms have changed the way we report performance for 16 to 18 year olds. Therefore you can’t compare the most recent data with data prior to 2016.
The 16 to 18 performance tables count both academic and high value technical and applied qualifications at level 3. We only count vocational qualifications that lead to employment or further study.
- A levels and other level 3 academic qualifications
- tech levels, qualifications leading to recognised occupations such as engineering or professional cookery
- applied general qualifications, which provide broad study of a vocational area, for example performing arts or health and social care
From 2017, we have extended the qualifications reported to include technical certificates and other vocational qualifications at level 2.
The main headline measures show:
- progress since key stage 4, which is the main focus of the 16 to18 accountability system
- attainment measures, for example the average grades achieved in qualifications for students at a school or college
- retention measures, which report on the proportion of students that complete their studies at the school or college
- destination measures, for example students going into higher education or employment
- English and maths progress measures in qualifications below level 3, for example GCSE, for students that did not achieve a grade C at key stage 4
Read more about changes to accountability measures.
3. How we make sure the data is reliable
We make sure the data is accurate and reliable in the following ways:
- the Standards and Testing Agency asks local authorities to check a sample of key stage 2 teacher assessments to make sure they meet national standards
- we perform an annual run-through of the performance tables data production process using test data to identify any miscalculations and fix them before we process the real data
- we ask schools and colleges to check their performance tables results and ask for the necessary amendments (for example grade changes as a result of re-sits) before we publish final data
- qualification awarding organisations offer a review service to schools, so that they can challenge the marks or grades awarded by markers
4. How we update the data
We regularly update information we have on schools if, for example, a school:
- changes type, for example it becomes an academy
- closes or reopens
- gets a new headteacher or principal
We also publish the latest Ofsted inspection outcome on the school’s page and show when we added the latest inspection judgement.
4.1 Changes to data
After we publish performance table data there’s a 4 week time period known as errata when schools and colleges can ask for amendments. For example, grade changes due to enquiries about results.
If we approve an amendment, we will update the data at the end of the amendment process. We won’t make further updates to the data after this period has closed. At this point, the data will be marked as ‘final’.
Any changes received during this period will not be used to update the amended Level 3 Value Added measures published in January.
The full datasets available in the download data section of the school performance tables are updated after the amendment period has closed.
4.2 Schools that become academies
We show academies as either ‘converter academies’ or ‘sponsored academies’.
A converter academy is a school that voluntarily becomes an academy and does not have a sponsor.
A sponsored academy is a school that becomes an academy supported by a ‘sponsor’ - to help it improve and with new governance arrangements.
In most cases, we treat a converter academy as a continuing school and a sponsored academy as a new school. This affects how we report results for these schools.
If a school becomes an academy before 12 September of that academic year, we’ll publish the results for this academy under the new school name.
If a school becomes an academy on or after 12 September, we’ll:
- publish the results for that academic year under the old school name
- link to the new school page which will provide background information only
5. Data that we don’t report
5.1 Overseas pupils
Pupils who have joined a school or college from overseas won’t be included in progress measures, because there won’t be previous attainment data available to measure their current progress. We’ll still include these pupils in the attainment measures for the school, college, England and the local authority (unless the school requested to remove the pupil on the grounds of exceptional circumstances).
5.2 Independent schools
We don’t publish key stage 2 data for independent schools because they don’t have to follow the national curriculum or enter pupils for key stage 2 tests.
We don’t publish Progress 8 data for independent schools at key stage 4. This is because the majority of pupils at independent schools do not have prior attainment data, which is needed to calculate progress. They’ll still be included for attainment at key stage 4.
We don’t publish disadvantaged measures, retention measures or completion and attainment for independent schools in the 16 to 18 performance data. This is because the information is either not available to calculate these measures or does not apply to the students at independent schools.
We don’t publish destination measures at key stage 4 or 16 to 18 for independent schools.
5.3 Some 16 to 18 data
We don’t include performance data on:
- work-based learning, for example apprenticeships and traineeships
- 16 to 18 institutions that aren’t schools or colleges, for example training providers
- special schools - we only include those that have opted in
5.4 Unapproved qualifications
We don’t include data on all:
- key stage 4 qualifications in secondary performance tables
- qualifications taken by 16- to 18-year-olds in schools and colleges
This is due to policy reforms, which mean that only approved qualifications count.
Schools that offer unapproved qualifications, for example unregulated international GCSEs, may find that these affect their performance against the headline measures. For example, the proportion of pupils achieving grades 9 to 5 in English and maths may be recorded as 0% if pupils took unregulated qualifications in these subjects.
To see a list of the qualifications we count for key stage 4, read Key stage 4 qualifications and discount codes for 2014 to 2019 performance tables.
To see a list of the qualifications we count for 16 to 18, read Performance points for qualifications counting in the 16 to 18 performance tables 2017.
5.5 How we count similar qualifications (‘discounting’)
We use key stage 4 discount codes and 16 to 18 discount codes to group qualifications with similar content together, so that we only credit schools or colleges for a single course of study if there is an overlap in curriculum. This means that if a pupil has taken 2 or more very similar subjects, we’ll only credit the school or college for 1 qualification.
We may need to use discounting if, for example:
- a pupil re-sits a qualification before the end of key stage 4 or 16-to-18 study with a different awarding organisation
- the school or college provides a single course of study but then enters the pupil for 2 or more very similar qualifications
5.6 Data that could identify pupils (‘suppressed’ data)
We don’t publish attainment figures if there are 5 or fewer pupils with certain characteristics (backgrounds or needs) in a particular school. This is to reduce the risk of individual pupils being identified.
We apply extra suppression to destination measures because it contains employment data. We don’t publish figures if there are 10 or fewer pupils in a particular school or figures referring to outcomes for 1 or 2 individuals.
If we’ve suppressed the data, a field will show as ‘SUPP’ in the performance tables results.