Education – open data sources

Before Christmas myself and Joy Gibara from the Looked After Children Education Service in Birmingham City Council attended the Hacking education data meet up at Urban Coffee Company.  I worked in various admin and IT related education roles for quite a few years and Joy obviously has current knowledge in the area

We talked to the group about some of the data sources we know about and promised to write a post collecting them together for people. So, here it is. It is worth noting that these are predominantly school-based and sometimes relate specifically to Birmingham.

school tower

One of the main sources of data about schools is Edubase – “the up to date database of educational establishments across England and Wales”.  It has some free and open web pages – these allow extracts of up to 150 records –  as well as the ability to create extracts of your own based upon a login.

The data it holds includes: school address details, current headteacher, numbers of children in whole school and per year group,  the number of children with special educational needs, the type of school including if it is gender specific and/or religious. You get the general idea.

With a login there is a restriction on the number of times you can run reports from just 2 per year for a member of the public to an unlimited number, I believe, for local authority staff.

A couple of years ago, HP Labs created a Linked Data version of Edubase. However, it didn’t do that much linking, and it is now over two years out of date.

Additionally, details of schools and education centres managed by Birmingham are also held on the Birmingham Grid for Learning (BGfL). These can sometimes be more up to date than Edubase, especially in relation to such things as a change in headteacher.

Schools are subject to inspections by the Office for Standards in Education, or Ofsted. Beloved of educationalists nationwide, their school inspection reports are published online and can be searched for on their site.

There are sites such as Schools In UK, which collate data from Edubase and Ofsted inspection reports.

The Research and Statistics Gateway is invaluable for all sorts of aggregated education data. In particular attainment. exclusions, attendance etc are all broken down by individual LAs on there. Joy points to some statistical first releases (these ones relate to outcomes for Looked After Children) that she finds particularly useful.

There is also the Department of Education’s Compare schools‘ site which allows you to compare up to 5 schools across a variety of data, which mostly appears to come from Edubase.

The Pupil Premium provides additional funding on top of the main funding a school receives. It is targeted at pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds to ensure they benefit from the same opportunities as pupils from less deprived families

So, the Schools’ Funding Settlement section of the Pupil Premium site is likely to be a lot more useful a year down the line once schools have had a year of spending money in this way. It will be interesting to see what they are doing with it. For example, there may be schools receiving very similar pots of money but perhaps having very different outcomes in terms of attainment. attendance etc.

The Pupil Premium is due to increase to £600  next year. It has also been extended to cover any child that has been registered for Free School Meals (FSM) in the past six years.

The Department of Education performance site has a lot of data on such things as performance for all pupils, low attainers, medium attainers, high attainers (presumably based on their prior performance), staffing information (including average salaries, and ratio of pupil:staff), spend per pupil etc..

An example of a Birmingham school is this page about Aston Tower Community Primary

Schools’ budget share may well be of use to someone looking at Birmingham-specific issues. So, it can be used to look at Free School Meals rates and then compare them with attainment outcomes. (usually around grammar school intakes, and which populations the schools actually serve!).

Many thanks to Joy, who has provided most of the links to data here. Please feel free to add any other resources you know about in the comments.

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