The release covers progression to HE by Free School Meal status, gender, ethnicity, first language, Special Educational Need (SEN) status, Looked After Children, Children in Need and POLAR disadvantage.
For the most recent data, the denominator used for these measures covers pupils aged 15 in 2016/17 in English state-funded schools and special schools (including non-maintained special schools). This denominator is broken down by the pupil characteristics identified above.
The numerator is calculated by identifying pupils who progressed to UK Higher Education (HE) in either 2019/20 at age 18, or in 2020/21 at age 19.
The measures are calculated using matched data. This matches the National Pupil Database to the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) Individualised Learner Record 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) by age 19. 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.
The following table helps to demonstrate how the cohort is tracked through to HE entry.
|Academic Year||Age at start of academic year||Stage of Education|
|2016/17||15||GCSEs or equivalent (Key Stage 4)|
|2017/18||16||AS Levels or equivalent (Key Stage 5)|
|2018/19||17||A Levels or equivalent (Key Stage 5)|
|2019/20||18||Entry to HE|
|2020/21||19||Entry to HE (following a gap year)|
Figures are presented from the earliest point we have consistent and reliable data for each characteristic. Most of statistics in the release relate to progression to HE from 2009/10 onwards, however for Free School Meal pupils we are able to present figures from 2005/06 onwards.
- These measures only track entry to HE by age 19. A number of pupils may enter HE at a later age and are not included in these measures.
- Prior attainment is not accounted for in these measures. Many pupils will not continue their education; therefore will not hold the qualifications to progress to HE.
- Due to the matching procedures deployed, all figures in these measures should be treated as estimates.