Data Limitations

A Note on Trend Data

Between 2012 and 2017 it was possible to track destinations data and identify trend data. As noted in the Introduction, however, there were additional challenges in collecting the 2018 destination data, with an observed increase in non-response and variation within this by local authority. For that reason, this year’s report, as was the case with the 2018 report, consists of a short summary of the data for 2019 and does not seek to establish any comparability with the existing time series and will therefore not comment on trends. The summary will include local authority data, but will not compare the data with previous years or across authorities.

However, it is worth noting that the rate of non-respondents for Year 11 in 2019 is 1.1% (350 individuals) compared to 3.5% (1043 individuals) in 2018 and compared to 0.5% (169 individuals) in 2017. For Year 12 in 2019 it was 2.2% (268 individuals) compared to 3.7% (482 individuals) in 2018 and 1.6% (220 individuals) in 2017. Year 13 stood at 9.6% in 2019 (1011 individuals), 11.6% (1275 individuals) in 2018 and 3.7% in 2017 (436 individuals). With the exception of Year 13, the non-respondent rates for 2019 have moved closer to the levels seen in 2017, but still haven’t returned to pre-2018 levels.

Having non-respondents skews the data relating to certain groups meaning that comparing across different years is likely to draw inaccurate conclusions. To illustrate, the Known Not to be in Education, Training or Employment figure in 2018 for year 11 was the same as it was in 2017 at 1.6% (491 individuals in 2017 compared to 476 individuals in 2018). However, the percentage of Year 11 leavers continuing in full-time education in 2018 was 1.9 percentage points lower than in 2017 (86.4% (25,626 individuals) compared to 88.2% (27,189 individuals)). Alongside non-respondents (up by 3 percentage points), these two categories represented the biggest differences across the two years. Whilst it might have been reasonable to surmise, in the absence of starter information from some FE colleges, that the majority of the non-respondents had continued in full-time education in FE, we cannot assume this is the case.