The gender gap in progression to a level 4 or higher destination closed from 6 percentage points last year to 5, with 66% of female students progressing compared to 61% of male students. However, the gap in the progression score, which takes into account prior attainment and qualification type, increased slightly from 0.6 points last year to 1.0 points.
This progression score gap increases when only students of academic and applied general qualifications are considered, with female students on +1.1 and male students on -1.3. However, this trend reverses for students of tech levels, with female students on -4.7 and males on +3.6. A possible explanation for this might be that there are gender biases in the tech level subjects being chosen by the students, with some subjects more inclined to lead to higher education or training than others.
Students in the white major ethnic group progress to higher education or training at a lower rate (60%) than all other ethnic groups besides unclassified. This progression rate is 27 percentage points behind the highest-progressing group (Chinese students, although this is a relatively small major ethnic group at 16 to 18 study with fewer than 2,000 students). The highest progression score of +19.4 was for students in the black or black British major ethnicity group.
Part of the explanation for these differences might be regional demographics. Students in the white major ethnic group, the lowest scoring, were more likely than other major ethnic groups to be completing their 16 to 18 study in regions that had negative progression scores (East of England, South East and South West). However, while a comparatively large proportion of the highest-scoring major ethnic group (black students) completed their 16 to 18 study at an institution in high-scoring London, region is unlikely to be the only explanation as students in the black, Asian and Chinese major ethnic groups progressed at a very high rate in regions outside of London too. It might be that part of the reason London performs so well in this measure is because it has high proportions of these high-progressing groups studying there.
Students of disadvantaged status are defined as being those eligible for pupil premium in year 11, including those receiving free school meals (FSM) and looked-after students. Students with no KS4 record are placed in “all other students”.
Students of disadvantaged status were less likely than other students to progress to higher education or training (59% for disadvantaged vs 65% for non-disadvantaged). However the progression score shows that after taking prior attainment and qualification type into account, students with disadvantaged status are actually 2.9 percentage points more likely to progress than their peers.
As was postulated in the ethnicity discussion, part of the explanation for these differences in progression score might be geographical. Students in London are more likely to have had disadvantaged status than those elsewhere in the country. It is therefore possible that the increase in progression score is actually just a manifestation of the London effect, although there may be other factors. For example, it might be that fewer disadvantaged students go in to 16 to 18 study to start with, and so those that do are more likely to be focused on a particular destination.
Special Educational Needs (SEN)
School students with SEN were 4 ppts less likely to sustain a higher education or training destination than those without an identified need. However, the progression scores reveal that students with SEN were actually 3.1 ppts more likely to progress than those without an identified need, once prior attainment has been taken into consideration. Destinations for students with SEN were more likely to be to level 4 or 5 study and less likely to be to degrees or apprenticeships than students without SEN.
Learners with Learning Difficulties and Disabilities (LLDD)
LLDD showed a similar pattern to SEN. College students identified as LLDD were slightly less likely to sustain a level 4 or higher destination than students not identified as LLDD (54% vs 55%). However, LLDD students had a more positive progression score (-0.5 compared to -2.0) showing that for a given prior attainment and qualification type, students identified as LLDD were actually more likely to progress than those who were not identified as LLDD.