The Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) is exploring the value of data and statistics in relation to post-16 education and skills, specifically those about further education and apprenticeships, higher education, and skills and lifelong learning.
Good quality and accessible information in these areas is important to support the most fair, efficient and effective provision of education and training to meet the needs of both individuals and employers.
In April 2019, we published our paper “Exploring the public value of statistics about post-16 education and skills in England” in which we identified many areas where statistics and data services are being developed to meet a diverse range of user needs. For example, the Department for Education are improving their published statistics about further education and apprenticeships in response to identified user needs, and stakeholders spoke highly about the quality and value of data about many parts of the higher education system.
However, we found issues with access to learner level data across all levels of study, and with the value of learner level data from further education colleges. Our research highlighted that better information about applicants to university could help shed light on social mobility. We also identified information gaps surrounding workforce skills, which make planning to meet future demand difficult.
Our review has initially focussed on England. However, from April 2019 we will be engaging with users and producers with a specific interest in statistics on this topic in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, to identify the extent to which the accessibility, coherence and data gaps are the same, or different, to those identified in England.
We will also continue to monitor the improvements the producer bodies in England have committed to making in this area and support them to consider where there is more they can do.
Contact: Louisa McCutcheon