The education sector relies heavily on statistical analysis at all levels and throughout all types of organisation. At a national and local authority level there is a need to identify trends and attainment levels for discrete groups of students. Schools, universities and colleges all benefit from using statistics to predict future student numbers, measure performance and for market research.


In an increasingly competitive sector, universities often need to understand how they are perceived by prospective students and their parents. They also need to know the provision, facilities and ethos that would be successful in attracting more applications. Here are a few of the ways that statistical analysis provides a more complete and accurate understanding:

  • Evaluating and monitoring the student experience and student engagement for university managers and student bodies.
  • Design and analysis of bespoke student and staff surveys.
  • Analysis of existing surveys such as the National Student Survey and the student barometer.
  • Understanding applicants: why do they apply and why might they reject an offer?
  • Which are the best courses and why? How do your courses compare to those at other universities? What new courses might be popular?
  • Monitor trends and predict student numbers for new and existing courses.

Schools and Colleges

In many parts of the country schools and FE colleges need to attract students to maintain their financial stability. They also need to predict as accurately as possible how many students they will have, the subjects they will be studying and what special support they might need. Statistical analysis provides the data they need to plan effectively. Here are some of the ways we can help:

  • Gauge attitudes and perceptions, evaluate initiatives, programmes or policies, and gain insight into the view of different stakeholder groups e.g., students, staff, parents and governors.
  • Design and analysis of bespoke questionnaires.
  • Actionable intelligence to support teaching and learning (e.g., which teaching methods are most effective).
  • Training for governors and senior management on how to use statistics from, for example,  Ofsted’s school data dashboard to assess school performance.
  • Clearer communication to students, parents, teachers and governors of test results and performance metrics.
  • Predicting Ofsted inspection results and prioritising resources to ensure better outcomes
  • Comparing performance between schools to identify areas where performance could be improved.

Education Authorities

Education authorities have a legal responsibility to ensure that adequate provision exists, to monitor performance, and in particular for the attainment and progress of looked after children and those with special educational needs. Data analysis ranges from large scale demographic data to predict cohort sizes down to highly targeted analysis of individual institutions or groups of students. Specific areas where we help include:

  • Comparing and monitoring school performance across the region and with statistically similar areas and institutions.
  • Modelling future student numbers to support more accurate planning of school building and development programmes.
  • Evaluating the progress and attainment of specific groups of students such as SEN or children in care.
  • Ensuring that special needs provision is adequate and monitoring performance.
  • Multi-level modelling to help account for clusters and groups (e.g., regions or schools) and to understand how different factors affect results at different levels of aggregation.

Education Charities and Commercial Organisations

Typically these national organisations want to understand the bigger picture in order to influence government policy. Statistical techniques are used to assess provision and performance at a national level perhaps by subject or for specific special interest groups such as ethnic minorities, disabled people, or mature students. Statistical analysis is essential in assessing different teaching practices and resources.  Areas where statistics lead to clearer understanding and more effective policy making include:

  • Curriculum development and matching subjects to the skills required to sustain and grow the economy.
  • Understanding the impact of education policy and practices both generally, by gender and for special interest groups such as, ethnic minorities and disabled people.
  • Developing products, procedures and tools to support teaching and learning and to evaluate their performance.

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