The Cohort-based Higher Education Participation (CHEP) measure identifies first-time participation in Higher Education by age, gender, region, and level and mode of study.
CHEP replaces the previous Higher Education Initial Participation (HEIP) measure that had been published by DfE (and former Departments) since 2004.
The denominator used for the CHEP measure is pupils who attended state-funded schools and special schools in England at age 15 as recorded in the School Census. The numerator is calculated by identifying pupils who progressed to UK Higher Education (Levels 4 and above) in the years following their schooling.
The measures are calculated using matched data. This matches the National Pupil Database (NPD) to the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) Individualised Learner Record (ILR) and the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) Student Record and Alternative Provider Student Record. This allows pupils to be tracked from English schools at age 15 to higher education (HE) at older ages.
The matched data relates to students who were aged 15 in the period 2001/02 to 2018/19, which allows us to track HE entry up to age 34 in the latest year (2020/21).
The measures cover HE courses at UK Higher Education Institutions, Alternative Providers and English Further Education Colleges.
It must be noted, due to the matching procedures deployed, all figures in this publication should be treated as estimates, and may include a small amount of double counting where pupils attend more than one school. Further details of the matching procedure can be found in the Matching process section below.
Pupils who attended independent schools are not currently included in the measure. The Department collects less detailed information on pupils who attend independent schools. This means that the figures are more sensitive to changes in the matching methodology over time than for state-funded schools which then affects the comparability of the figures. We will keep monitoring the stability of the matched independent schools data in the future with a view to including them.
Pupils are deemed to have participated in Higher Education where they are:
- Recorded in HESA's Standard Registration Population, which requires a minimum of 2 weeks participation; or
- Recorded in the ILR college data as starting a learning aim at level 4 or higher that was either:
- Completed successfully
- Continuing into the following year
- Lasting over 6 months
Participation in HE at Alternative Providers has been included for students who started courses in 2014/15 or later.
Work-based learning, including apprenticeships, is not included in the measures.
16 year olds in Higher Education
Due to the small numbers involved, figures for students who entered HE at age 16 have been included in the figures but categorised as 17-year-olds.
Statistics are provided for the following breakdowns:
Age relates to the age at the start of the academic year. Figures are provided for individual ages and are also grouped to show HE entry by age 20, 25 and 30. The main focus of the publication is HE entry by age 25 as this provides a balance between the timeliness of the measure and the peak participation in HE.
Gender is recorded as male or female in the School Census. Gender is self-declared and recorded according to the wishes of the parent and/or pupil.
Region is based on the location of the school that the pupil attended at age 15. The location of the school is determined by the Local Authority (LA) it reports to. In some cases, pupils may have lived in a different area to the one they have been reported in, including some pupils attending schools in England who lived in Wales or Scotland.
Mode of study refers to whether a student has undertaken full-time or part-time higher education.
Level of study refers to the qualification that the individual was aiming to achieve when they set out in their studies.