UKNat - FAQs on schools data

FAQs on schools data

General Questions

Why are you providing this data?

Please see this page to find out the aims of this website.

Where do you get this data from?

All data is sourced from the supporting data of Department of Education publications and performance tables.

Click here to see the links to specific sources below.

The schools data set made available by the government is extensive and frequently updated. What can be found on this site is only a fraction of the available data, but hopefully brings the most useful and current data together into one place. As this site develops we may align more data sets and archived information so that historical trends can be analysed.

Is this data up-to-date?

We are striving to update this data as soon as we know of an update from official sources, subject to that data being in a convenient form to work with. For some data sets this may be on a monthly basis with current information; for others the updates may be a year apart and might themselves concern a previous academic year to the present.

How correct and complete is the data?

It is "correct" in that it has been collected and validated by governmental sources, and as far as we know is the same data that they work with. The data is provided entirely "as is" from these sources, and therefore any errors and omissions are not the doing or responsibility of UKNat. The open license does not extend to UKNat making alterations to the contents of the data set. There are potential pitfalls in interpreting the data which we feel it would be worth mentioning however.

There are obvious gaps in the information. Firstly the data only covers schools in England rather than across the whole UK, and it does not include independent schools. Data sets for the remainder of the United Kingdom exist to varying degrees as published by the local governments, and we will work on bringing those into the data set as far as it is possible to do so.

Information on new schools is not as comprehensive, as one might expect. Key Stage 4 data may have some unusual features where schools use alternative qualifications to GCSE that are not counted towards the Attainment 8 component.

There are many areas throughout the data set where data is either suppressed, due to a pupil being potentially personally identifiable, or not published due to low statistical significance.

Why is there no data on independent schools?

We could publish the data that is available on independent schools, and independent and non-maintained special schools, but in the majority of cases this amounts to little information, since far less data is routinely collected on these schools than with state-funded schools. We may include independent schools in the future, but with the understanding that the data may appear incorrect or misleading in context with that of state-funded schools.

Exam data on independent schools may be found in the way of league tables or published by associations or organisations of which those schools may be members. Inspection reports may be found either through Ofsted or alternative agencies that inspect independent schools.

Where does the local and national data come from?

This data is found in the same sources as the school level data, usually provided as a supplement to the data set. With the data available, there is potential to go further than this and provide our own calculations of other interesting groupings and data sets in time.

Acronyms/jargon

We have tried to avoid using acronyms unless using widely known terms, but in some cases it is unavoidable. Two in particular crop up in the data set - "SEN" = Special Educational Needs; "EAL" = English as an Additional Language

Notes on specific data sets

General characteristics

EYFS/Childcare at Postcode - This information may not be entirely accurate as there is no corresponding match in available data between schools and any childcare or Early Years arrangements that they also run. Based on the assumption that most arrangements in this case would be run from the same premises, we have matched where the postcode of a school matches that of a childcare setting. However, this does mean there will be misleading information where: a school's EYFS/childcare is run in a different location; a childcare setting is run on the school site by a different provider; or an unrelated setting happens to be a close neighbour. We will publish more information on these settings as a different section of this site, but will link school and childcare arrangements where it is deemed likely that they are connected.

Key Stage and other exam results

Prior attainment - This is a measure of pupils' scores in previous national tests. From this, we can judge the academic starting points of pupils as they enter each phase of education.

Progress/Value Add - Knowing the score or grades of a pupil in a recent public exam, we can compare this recent score against their performance in previous public exams taken when they were younger. The point of this exercise is to see if pupils are performing at least as consistently as they have done in the past, irrespective of their absolute performance. The importance of this measure is growing in the government data sets, with a new dedicated measure "Progress 8" in place for measuring Key Stage 4 progress, where accountability in the past had mainly rested on what grades pupils achieved. Positive scores for progress suggest that the school is effective in raising pupils' standards.

Expected/High Standard - A relatively new measure that simplifies Key Stage 2 reporting to state whether pupils are meeting overall national standards for their age (Expected Standard) or well exceeding them (High/Greater Depth). Prior to this, performance was expressed by a rather more complicated system of National Curriculum Levels.

Attainment 8 - Also a fairly new measure for Key Stage 4 which is being used to replace long-standing grade and point scores benchmarks at GCSE. The "8" refers to the score being calculated from the results of eight exams - English, Maths, 3 mandatory EBacc (English Baccalaureate) subjects from a list of choices, 3 other subjects EBacc or Open.

It must also be noted that we are working with data that has been greatly summarised by the Department of Education to fit their overall reporting style, also incorporating several different types of examination apart from GCSE and A Level. More detailed information relating to performance in specific exam types does exist in varying degrees of detail in the supporting data to government publications.