Given the circumstances in which grades were awarded in 2020 and 2021 and the delays to examinations due to the Covid-19 pandemic, caution should be taken in comparing 19/20 and 20/21 data to previous years
These National Statistics provide information at both national, local authority and local authority district level on the attainment of 19-year olds at the end of each academic year (e.g. 2020/21 refers to 31 August 2021). They are used to monitor trends in attainment over time and changes in attainment within different groups.
The figures are based on a matched administrative dataset produced by the Department for Education consisting of data from the Individualised Learner Record (ILR), key stage 4 and 5 awarding body results and the School Census.
The statistics are based on two cohorts as follows:
• An overall national cohort has a numerator based on all young people captured in the dataset (not just those in the state-sector in year 11), and has a denominator based on the whole school population (including state-funded maintained schools, independent schools, Alternative Provision (APs) and Pupil Referral Units (PRUs)), as recorded at academic age 14 i.e. year 10, or the penultimate year of secondary school.
• The state-funded cohort is based on pupils recorded in mainstream state-funded schools at academic age 15 i.e. year 11 or the final year of secondary school (the state-funded cohort also includes a small number of learners who attended non-maintained special schools). The state funded cohort includes breakdowns by various pupil characteristics (as recorded at academic age 15).
There are differences in the methodology in the attainment measures for the national and state-funded cohorts, which mean that they should not be directly compared.
In these statistics, the attainment of the following measures refers to the proportion of people who achieved them as at 31st August i.e. the end of the academic year (e.g. 2020/21 refers to 31st August 2021):
• Level 2 is 5 (or more) GCSEs at grades 9-4/A*-C or equivalent e.g. Level 2 vocational qualification
• Level 3 is 2 (or more) A levels or equivalent e.g. Level 3 vocational qualification
• Level 2 in English and maths is GCSEs at grades 9-4/A*-C in those subjects or equivalent qualifications.
• Progression in English and maths is those people who did not achieve level 2 in English and/or maths at 16 but had achieved both at 19.
For further background information on these statistics, including on the data sources, qualifications and the methodology, please see the accompanying methodology. Underlying data is also published alongside this release.
We would welcome feedback on any aspect of this publication at: Post16.STATISTICS@education.gov.uk