Destinations of students after key stage 5 (usually aged 18 years)

The main facts and figures show that:

  • overall, in 2015/16, 89% of students stayed in education or employment for at least 2 terms after finishing key stage 5 (usually A levels or another level 3 qualification), with 66% going into education and 23% into employment
  • students from the Chinese ethnic group were the most likely out of all ethnic groups to stay in education or employment (at 92%), followed by students from the Indian and Black African ethnic groups (both at 91%)
  • 90% of White British students stayed in education or employment, 1 percentage point higher than the national average; White British students were also the most likely to go into employment (27%) out of all ethnic groups except Gypsy/Roma (38%) where very small numbers of students finished key stage 5
  • 19% of Gypsy/Roma students and 20% of those from the Traveller of Irish Heritage ethnic group had no sustained education or employment after key stage 5, the highest percentages out of all ethnic groups – however, this is based on a small number of students so generalisations based on this result are unreliable
Things you need to know

This data only includes young people aged 16 to 18 years who had completed A-levels and/or other level 3 qualifications at key stage 5 in state-funded mainstream schools and colleges in England.

This does not cover the whole population of 18 year olds because it doesn't include young people who were not in education at this age, or those studying qualifications at a lower level.

This data includes the immediate destinations of students in the year after finishing key stage 5 study, not longer term outcomes. It doesn’t measure the quality of the education or employment engaged in, 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 and some local authority records of young people's activity.

To be counted as having been in education, students must have had sustained education participation recorded for 6 months from October to March immediately after key stage 5 – this could be at UK universities, further education colleges orin other educational settings in England. Students doing a combination of education and employment are counted as being in education.

To be counted as having been in employment, students must have had sustained participation recorded in 5 out of 6 months from October to March, and must also have been in employment in April, if not in March.

Students who completed some education or employment from October to March immediately after stage 5, but for less than the required time, are counted as having no sustained education or employment.

Not all destinations could be captured – for example, if people went into work or study overseas or attended a school or college in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, their destination would be unknown. Although destinations were captured for 97% of students finishing key stage 5, this differed substantially by ethnic group. For example, destinations were captured for 97% of White British students, compared with 89% for those for whom ethnicity wasn’t known.

In 2014/15, the source of employment information was changed to include data on tax and benefits, and this led to 97% of destinations being captured, compared to 85% previously. This means the data for 2014/15 and after can’t be compared with previous years.

There were very few students in the Gypsy/Roma and Traveller of Irish heritage ethnic groups who completed A levels or other level 3 qualifications in 2015/16. The small numbers of students in this group mean it’s not possible to draw firm conclusions about them.

The Code of Practice for Official Statistics requires 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.

To help preserve anonymity, numbers have been rounded to the nearest 5.

What the data measures

This data shows the destinations of students who completed key stage 5 in state-funded mainstream schools and colleges in England in 2015, based on what they did in the first 2 terms of the next academic year (October to March). The data shows destinations by ethnic group.

The total of all students who completed key stage 5 was used to calculate percentages of outcomes for each category.

Key stage 5 covers school years 12 and 13, or study at sixth-form and other further education colleges, when young people are aged 16 to 18 years. The students included in this measure are those who worked towards A levels or other level 3 qualifications in the academic year 2014/15.

There are 3 main categories that show whether students:

  • stayed in education, including at UK universities and colleges in England
  • went into employment
  • didn’t stay in education or go into employment for at least two terms

There’s an extra category to show where this information wasn’t captured.

The ethnic categories used in this data

This data uses categories from the Department for Education’s school census, which is broadly based on the 2001 national Census, with 3 exceptions:

  • Traveller of Irish Heritage and Gypsy/Roma students have been separated into two categories
  • Sri Lankan has been added to the Asian/Asian British group but is not reported separately
  • Chinese students have been assigned a separate category

These changes were made after consultations with local authorities and lobby groups.

The categories in the school census are as follows:

White:

  • British
  • Irish
  • Gypsy Roma
  • Irish Traveller
  • Any Other White background

Mixed/Multiple ethnic groups:

  • White and Black Caribbean
  • White and Black African
  • White and Asian
  • Any Other Mixed/Multiple ethnic background

Asian/Asian British:

  • Indian
  • Pakistani
  • Bangladeshi
  • Sri Lankan
  • Any Other Asian background

Black/African/Caribbean/Black British:

  • African
  • Caribbean
  • Any Other Black/African/Caribbean background

Chinese

Other ethnic group

Unclassified (where no ethnicity is recorded)

Information about destinations is provided for both detailed and broad ethnic groups where possible and when the data is available.

The 6 broad categories used are as follows:

  • White
  • Mixed/Multiple ethnic groups
  • Asian/Asian British
  • Black/African/Caribbean/Black British
  • Other ethnic group
  • Chinese

Ethnic groups and how data on ethnicity is collected

Students going into sustained education or employment by ethnicity

Percentage of students going into sustained education or employment after key stage 5, by ethnicity

Ethnicity Education, employment or training Education Employment No sustained education/employment Unknown
% % % % %
All 89 66 23 8 3
Asian 89 79 9 7 4
Bangladeshi 90 81 9 7 3
Indian 91 82 9 6 3
Pakistani 86 77 10 9 5
Asian other 89 79 10 7 4
Black 90 79 11 7 3
Black African 91 83 8 5 3
Black Caribbean 88 71 17 9 3
Black other 89 77 12 8 3
Chinese 92 86 5 4 5
Mixed 88 69 19 8 3
Mixed White/Asian 89 72 17 8 3
Mixed White/Black African 88 72 16 9 3
Mixed White/Black Caribbean 88 64 24 9 3
Mixed other 88 71 17 8 4
White 90 63 26 8 3
White British 90 63 27 8 3
White Irish 89 69 20 8 3
White Irish Traveller 65 45 20 20 15
White Gypsy/Roma 78 41 38 19 3
White other 86 69 17 8 5
Other 88 77 11 7 5
Unknown 80 62 18 8 11

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

This data shows that:

  • overall, nearly 9 out of 10 students (89%) went into education or employment after finishing their A levels (or other level 3 qualifications) – 66% continued their education, while 23% went into employment
  • students from the Chinese ethnic group were most likely to be in either education or employment out of all ethnic groups, with only 4% having no sustained education or work – the destination was unknown for a further 5%
  • the Chinese ethnic group also had the highest percentage of students staying in education (86%), followed by Black African (83%), Indian (82%) and Bangladeshi students (81%)
  • over a quarter (27%) of White British students went into employment, the highest percentage out of all ethnic groups except Gypsy/Roma students (38%)
  • the Gypsy/Roma ethnic group had the lowest percentage of students staying in education (41%), followed by the Traveller of Irish Heritage (45%), White British (63%) and Mixed White and Black Caribbean groups (64%) – however, very few Gypsy/Roma or Traveller of Irish Heritage students completed key stage 5 so it is not possible to draw firm conclusions about these groups
  • 19% of Gypsy/Roma and 20% of Traveller of Irish heritage students had no sustained education or employment after finishing key stage 5, the highest percentages out of all ethnic groups – it is not possible to draw firm conclusions about these groups due to the small number of students finishing key stage 5

Methodology

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. Five administrative data sources used in compiling the NPD have been used to determine students’ education destinations:

  • individualised learner record (ILR) covering English further education providers and specialist post-16 institutions
  • 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 2014/15, employment data and out-of-work benefit data have been linked to the national pupil database to form the longitudinal education outcomes (LEO) dataset.

Employment data came from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). Out-of-work benefit data came from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

The matching of these databases was undertaken at individual level using personal characteristics such as name, date of birth and postcode.

Suppression rules and disclosure control

Suppression is applied to the destination data to ensure that individual students cannot be identified, as follows:

  • any total with fewer than 11 students has had all of their data suppressed
  • figures referring to outcomes for 1 or 2 individuals have been suppressed – in some cases, more figures have been suppressed if publishing them would affect the suppression of those figures referring to outcomes for 1 or 2 individuals

Any data with a sum of 0 is retained unless it reveals information about employment destinations.

These rules are also applied to percentages relating to small numbers, so that numerators of less than 3 are suppressed. Percentages are calculated using unrounded data.

To help preserve confidentiality, student numbers have been rounded to the nearest 5.

The Code of Practice for Official 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

All student numbers have been rounded to the nearest 5 in the data download. Percentages are calculated using unrounded data.

Quality and methodology information

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.

Download the data

Destinations of students after key stage 5 - Spreadsheet (csv) 59 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