Destinations of school pupils after GCSEs (and equivalent qualifications)

Published

1. Main facts and figures

  • 94% of pupils went into education, apprenticeships or employment for at least 2 terms after finishing their GCSEs (or equivalent) in July 2017
  • 5% of pupils had no sustained education, apprenticeship or employment, and the destination was unknown for 1%
  • in nearly every ethnic group, over 90% of pupils went into education, apprenticeships or employment – this is except for the White Gypsy and Roma (67%) and Traveller of Irish heritage (72%) ethnic groups, but the small number of pupils makes this data less reliable
  • the percentage of Mixed White and Black Caribbean, and White British pupils who stayed in education after July 2017 was lower than the national average
  • the percentage of pupils going into education, apprenticeships or employment has increased from 89% in the school year ending July 2011
  • in every ethnic group except White Gypsy and Roma, a higher percentage of pupils went into education, apprenticeships or employment compared with the school year ending July 2011
  • pupils from the Chinese and Indian ethnic groups were consistently the most likely out of all ethnic groups to go into education, apprenticeships or employment
Things you need to know

This data only includes the immediate destinations of pupils in the year after finishing their GCSEs or other key stage 4 study. It doesn’t assess the quality of the education or employment, whether work or study is full or part time, the level of pay, or the level of study.

The data comes from:

  • administrative sources recording enrolment in schools and colleges in England and universities in the UK
  • matched tax and benefit data
  • some local authority records of young people's activity

Not all destinations could be captured – for example, a pupil’s destination would not be known if they went into work or study overseas or attended a school or college in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. Destinations were captured for 97% to 99% of all ethnic groups except Gypsy and Roma (90%) and Traveller of Irish Heritage pupils (94%).

In the year ending July 2015, an additional data source was introduced which increased employment outcomes by around one percentage point.

What the data measures

This data shows the destinations of pupils who completed their GCSEs and other key stage 4 qualifications in state-funded mainstream schools in England in July 2017.

The destinations are based on what pupils did in the first 2 terms of the following academic year (October 2017 to March 2018). There is a delay in the reporting of pupils’ destinations because of the time it takes to match and process the data.

The total of all pupils who completed key stage 4 was used to calculate percentages of outcomes for each category.

Key stage 4 covers school years 10 and 11, when children are aged 14 to 16 years. Most pupils work towards national qualifications, usually GCSEs.

The data shows destinations by ethnic group for 8 school years to the year ending July 2018.

There are 4 main categories that show whether pupils:

  • stayed in education – they must have been studying for 6 months from October to March immediately after key stage 4 (students who combined education and employment are counted as being in education)
  • went into an apprenticeship – they must have started an apprenticeship at any point in the year and continued it for at least 6 months
  • went into employment or training – they must have been employed in 5 out of 6 months from October to March, and been in employment or training in April, if they weren’t in March
  • didn’t stay in education or go into employment for at least 2 terms – this includes pupils who completed some education or employment from October to March, but for less than the required time

There’s an extra category (‘unknown’) to show where this information wasn’t recorded.

The ethnic categories used in this data

2. By ethnicity

Percentage of pupils going into sustained education, apprenticeships or employment after key stage 4, by ethnicity
Ethnicity Education, apprenticeships or employment Education Apprenticeships Employment No sustained education/employment Unknown
% % % % % %
All 94 87 4 3 5 1
Asian 96 94 1 1 3 1
Bangladeshi 96 95 1 1 3 1
Indian 97 96 1 1 2 1
Pakistani 94 92 1 1 4 1
Asian other 96 95 0 1 3 1
Black 95 93 1 1 4 1
Black African 96 94 1 1 3 1
Black Caribbean 93 89 2 2 6 1
Black other 93 90 2 1 5 1
Chinese 98 97 1 0 1 1
Mixed 93 88 2 2 6 1
Mixed White/Asian 94 90 2 3 5 1
Mixed White/Black African 93 89 2 2 6 1
Mixed White/Black Caribbean 91 84 3 3 8 1
Mixed other 94 90 2 2 5 1
White 94 85 5 4 5 1
White British 94 85 6 4 5 1
White Irish 94 88 3 3 5 1
Gypsy/Roma 67 56 2 8 23 10
Irish Traveller 72 58 10 5 22 6
White other 92 89 1 2 5 3
Other 93 92 1 1 4 2
Unknown 91 83 4 4 7 2

Download table data for ‘By ethnicity’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity’ (CSV)

Summary of Destinations of school pupils after GCSEs (and equivalent qualifications) By ethnicity Summary

Figures for the White Gypsy and Roma and Traveller of Irish Heritage ethnic groups are based on a small number of pupils and are less reliable as a result.

The data shows that:

  • 87% of pupils who finished their GCSEs (or other key stage 4 qualifications) in July 2017 went into education immediately after
  • 4% went into apprenticeships, 3% went into employment and 5% had no sustained education or employment
  • pupils from the Chinese (97%) and Indian (96%) ethnic groups were the most likely out of all ethnic groups to stay in education
  • 6% of White British pupils went into apprenticeships, the highest percentage out of all ethnic groups after Traveller of Irish Heritage (which has very small pupil numbers)
  • pupils from the Chinese ethnic group were the least likely to go into employment, at less than 0.5% (this shows as 0% in the table due to rounding)
  • the percentage of Mixed White and Black Caribbean (84%), and White British (85%) pupils who went into education was lower than the average
  • White Gypsy and Roma pupils were the least likely to stay in education (56%), followed by Traveller of Irish Heritage pupils (58%)
  • White Gypsy and Roma pupils were the most likely to have no sustained employment or education (23%) and most likely to go into employment (8%) – the percentages for Traveller of Irish Heritage pupils were 22% and 5%

3. By ethnicity over time

Percentage of pupils going into sustained education, employment or apprenticeships after key stage 4, by ethnicity over time
Ethnicity 2010/11 2011/12 2012/13 2013/14 2014/15 2015/16 2016/17 2017/18
% % % % % % % %
All 89 89 91 92 94 94 94 94
Asian 93 92 94 95 95 96 96 96
Bangladeshi 92 91 93 95 94 96 96 96
Indian 95 96 96 97 97 98 98 97
Pakistani 90 90 92 93 94 94 94 94
Asian other 94 93 94 95 96 96 96 96
Black 91 91 94 94 94 94 94 95
Black African 93 92 95 95 95 95 95 96
Black Caribbean 89 89 92 93 93 93 93 93
Black other 89 91 93 93 94 94 94 93
Chinese 97 97 97 98 97 98 99 98
Mixed 88 89 90 92 93 93 93 93
Mixed White/Asian 91 91 93 93 94 94 94 94
Mixed White/Black African 87 89 91 93 94 94 94 93
Mixed White/Black Caribbean 86 86 87 89 91 91 91 91
Mixed other 89 90 91 92 94 93 93 94
White 89 89 90 92 94 94 94 94
White British 89 89 90 92 94 94 94 94
White Irish 89 89 92 92 93 94 94 94
Gypsy/Roma 67 61 62 68 68 65 66 67
Irish Traveller 60 50 62 55 67 69 73 72
White other 90 89 91 91 92 93 93 92
Other 91 90 92 93 93 93 93 93
Unknown 86 88 90 91 92 90 90 91

Download table data for ‘By ethnicity over time’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity over time’ (CSV)

Summary of Destinations of school pupils after GCSEs (and equivalent qualifications) By ethnicity over time Summary

Figures for the White Gypsy and Roma and Traveller of Irish Heritage ethnic groups are based on a small number of pupils and are less reliable as a result.

The data shows that, in the 8 academic years to July 2018:

  • the percentage of pupils going into education, apprenticeships or employment went up from 89% to 94%
  • the percentage of pupils going into education, apprenticeships or employment went up in every ethnic group except White Gypsy and Roma
  • the percentage of Mixed White and Black African pupils going into education, apprenticeships or employment went up from 87% to 93%, the biggest increase out of all ethnic groups (except the Traveller of Irish Heritage group, which is based on small numbers)
  • pupils from the Chinese and Indian ethnic groups were consistently the most likely to go into education, apprenticeships or employment
  • the percentages of White Gypsy and Roma and Traveller of Irish Heritage pupils going into education, apprenticeships or employment were consistently the lowest out of all ethnic groups

4. Methodology

Data from the national pupil database (NPD) is used to calculate education destinations. The NPD links pupil and student characteristics (for example, age, gender, and ethnicity) to school and college learning aims and attainment information for children in schools in England.

The following data sources have been used to determine pupils’ education destinations:

  • individualised learner records covering English further education providers and specialist post-16 institutions
  • the school census covering English schools (including pupil referral units)
  • awarding body data
  • alternative provision census
  • Higher Education Statistics Authority (HESA) data covering UK universities

Since the 2014 to 2015 school year, employment data and out-of-work benefit data has been linked to the national pupil database to form the longitudinal education outcomes (LEO) dataset. Along with local authority data, LEO data is used to calculate employment destinations.

HM Revenue and Customs supplies employment data, and the Department for Work and Pensions supplies out-of-work benefit data.

For all years, information on employment, training, and NEET (not in education, employment or training) comes from local authority data from the National Client Caseload Information System (NCCIS).

The matching of these databases was done using personal characteristics such as name, date of birth and postcode.

These statistics shown only include pupils who went to state-funded mainstream schools.

Suppression rules and disclosure control

The Code of Practice for Statistics requires the Department for Education (DfE) to take reasonable steps to ensure that their published or disseminated statistics protect confidentiality.

For more information about DfE’s disclosure control procedures for its statistical releases please see DfE’s statistical policy statement on confidentiality.

Rounding

No rounding is applied to pupil numbers in the data download. Percentages are calculated using unrounded data.

Quality and methodology information

5. Data sources

Source

Type of data

Administrative data

Type of statistic

Official statistics

Publisher

Department for Education

Publication frequency

Yearly

Purpose of data source

The data is collected to help provide clear and comparable information on the success of schools and colleges in helping their students continue in education or employment.

6. Download the data

Destinations of school pupils after key stage 4 - Spreadsheet (csv) 275 KB

This file contains: Measure, Ethnicity, Ethnicity type, Time, Time type, Geography, Geography type, Geography code, Gender, Gender type, Destination, Value, Value type, Denominator, Numerator