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Non-GCSE qualifications in England: key stage 4 entries and absence and exclusions outcomes

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The DfE have published an analysis of pupil entries into non-GCSE qualifications at key stage 4, and how this varies by pupil characteristics. The analysis also includes the outcomes of pupil absence and exclusions at key stage 4.

Key findings:

Entries into non-GCSE qualifications

  • When looking at qualifications taken in all schools and colleges, GCSEs or academic certificates have the largest proportion of entries at key stage 4. The figure increased year on year from 2015 (80%) to 2017 (84%) but fell slightly in 2018, to 83%.
  • The proportion of Technical Award entries has decreased year on year since 2015 (7%), and in 2018 they accounted for 5% of entries.
  • Pupils with special educational needs (SEN) are over-represented in entries to level 1 Technical Awards and entry level and level 1 qualifications not included in the performance tables.
  • Disadvantaged pupils are over-represented in entries to level 1 and level 2 Technical Awards and entry level qualifications not included in the performance tables.
  • Boys are over-represented in entries to level 1 Technical Awards and entry level qualifications not included in the performance tables.
  • Pupils with low prior attainment at key stage 2 are over-represented in entries to level 1 and level 2 Technical Awards and entry level and level 1 qualifications not included in the performance tables.

 

Technical Awards: absence and exclusions outcomes

  • For pupils in state-funded mainstream schools, taking a Technical Award is associated with pupils having lower absence rates, lower permanent exclusion rates and lower fixed exclusion rates, when compared to similar pupils who did not take a Technical Award.
  • The pattern is similar for pupils on SEN support taking a Technical Award in state-funded mainstream schools, who also have lower absence rates, lower permanent exclusion rates and lower fixed exclusion rates, when compared to similar pupils on SEN support who did not take a Technical Award. 

 

About the data:

  • The analysis aims to capture the whole range of eligible qualifications entered by pupils, therefore the discounting and early entry rules used in key stage 4 statistics have not been applied here. However, where a pupil has taken the same qualification multiple times this is only counted once. For these reasons, users should be cautious when comparing this analysis with key stage 4 statistics, as the figures presented here are not directly comparable.
  • Pupils are defined as disadvantaged if they are known to have been eligible for free school meals in the past six years (from year 6 to year 11), if they are recorded as having been looked after for at least one day or if they are recorded as having been adopted from care.  
  • For additional information about characteristics definitions, please see the Pupil characteristics definitions and historical changes section in this document: Key stage 4 methodology  

 

 

First published 20 March 2019