Data Limitations

A Note on Trend Data

In previous years it has been possible to track destinations data from 2012 and identify trend data. As noted in the Introduction, however, there have been additional challenges in collecting the 2018 destination data with an observed increase in non-response and variation within this by local authority. This year’s report, therefore, consists of a short summary of the data for 2018 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.

To illustrate, the rate of non-respondents for Year 11 in 2018 is 3.5% (n.1043) compared to 0.5% in 2017 (n.169) For Year 12 it was 3.7% (n.482) in 2018 compared to 1.6% (n.220) in 2017. Year 13 stood at 3.7% in 2017 (n.436) compared to 11.6% (n.1275) in 2018.

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 was the same as it was in 2017 at 1.6% (n.491 in 2017 compared to n.476 in 2018). However, the percentage of Year 11 leavers continuing in full-time education in 2018 was 1.8% lower than in 2017 (86.4% (n.25,626) compared to 88.2% (N.27,189)). Alongside non-respondents (up by 3%), these two categories represent the biggest differences across the two years. Whilst it might be reasonable to surmise, in the absence of starter information from some FE colleges, that the majority of the non-respondents have continued in full-time education in FE, we cannot assume this is the case.

A Note on Local Authority Data

As noted, due to the additional challenges in collecting the 2018 destination data, there is variation within the non-respondent rate by local authority. The report will therefore not compare the data across authorities.

To illustrate the variation between local authorities in terms of the non-respondent rate, one local authority actually has a lower non-respondent rate for Year 11 in 2018 compared to 2017 (1 in 2017 compared to 0 in 2018). A further five have a rate less than 0.5% higher than the previous year and a further five are less than one percentage point higher. The remaining eleven local authorities all had non-respondent rates over 1% higher than in 2017, with one local authority 4.8% higher (55 in 2018 compared to 4 in 2017), one 7.9% (87 in 2018 compared to 6 in 2017 higher) and one 31.4% higher (500 in 2018 compared to 18 in 2017). The local authorities where figures were higher tend to be in those areas where it was not possible to agree data-sharing agreements with the local FE Institutions, though it cannot be assumed that the non-respondents are therefore continuing their education in FE colleges.