This report concludes that the statistics on the characteristics of schools and pupils should retain their National Statistics status, as long as DfE demonstrates it has enhanced their value, quality and trustworthiness in the ways that we describe in chapters one to three.
We temporarily removed the National Statistics status of statistics on unlawfully large class sizes after DfE told us it was concerned about their quality. To re-instate National Statistics status, DfE needs to check the actions it has taken to improve the quality have worked in the way they expect, as described in chapter two.
We have asked DfE to report on its actions by the end of April 2017.
The statistics are already well-used. Local authorities, academy chains, schools and parents use school-level data to learn more about individual schools and their pupils. Academics and researchers use the data to improve society’s understanding of the effects of education and how education policy affects different groups of pupils. And local and national government use the statistics and data to make decisions about schools’ funding and to develop policy for local areas and for England as a whole.
DfE’s work to make data available in innovative formats – through the Performance Tables – to share data and to make data held in the National Pupil Database more available, increases their public value. We encourage and support DfE’s efforts to put appropriate safeguards in place to protect individual pupils’ privacy as it works towards delivering wider access to the data about schools and pupils.
This document was republished on 17 February 2017 to include a reference to the published correspondence that we refer to in paragraph 3.7.