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Academic achievement by pupil characteristics

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  • Release date: 28 January 2016
  • Period covered: 2015
Data includes information by gender, ethnicity, English as an additional language, special educational needs, absenteeism and month of birth.

The tables show pupil-level data that links data on attainment and examination information at Foundation Phase and Key Stages 2 to 4 to pupil characteristics from the Pupil Level Annual School Census (PLASC), Educated Other Than at School (EOTAS) pupil level collection and Pupils’ Attendance Record.

In line with the consultation “Proposals concerning the publication of official statistics” this year the data for this release have been updated without an associated Statistical Bulletin. All the data previously available through that release have been published. It is planned to publish a statistical bulletin for next year’s update but this will be confirmed as part of developing our statistical plan for 2016-17. Quality information can be found in the 2014 version of this release.

Key points

The key points related to the Foundation Phase indicator (FPI), Core Subject Indicator (CSI) for Key Stages 2 and 3, and the Level 2 (including English/ Welsh and Maths) indicator for Key Stage 4 (Level 2 Inclusive) are as follows:


  • With regard to FPI/CSI/Level 2 Inclusive, girls continued to outperform boys at Foundation Phase and each Key Stage, with the widest gap in 2015 at Foundation Phase, 7.7 percentage points (pp), and the narrowest gap at Key Stage 2, 5.8 pp.


  • When comparing the main ethnic groups, a higher percentage of pupils from a Chinese or Chinese British ethnic background achieved the FPI/CSI/Level 2 Inclusive than any other ethnic group at Foundation Phase and each Key Stage. Black or Black British pupils continue to be the lowest achieving from the main ethnic groups at Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 4, while Other Ethnic Group is lowest at Foundation Phase and Key Stage 3.

English as an additional language (EAL)

  • Pupils with EAL tend to perform better than those whose are not EAL in foundation phase - all categories except for “new to English” have a higher FPI percentage. This becomes less evident in both Key Stage 2 and 3 (with regard to CSI). In both Key Stage 3 and 4 those EAL pupils which are “competent” or “fluent” did better than those who are not EAL (with regard to CSI/Level 2 Inclusive).

Special Educational Needs (SEN)

  • The percentage of pupils with SEN achieving the FPI/CSI/Level 2 Inclusive has continued to improve. The highest result in 2015 is for 61.2 per cent at Key Stage 2, whilst the lowest is 23.3 per cent at Key Stage 4.


  • As the overall absence rate increased the percentage of pupils achieving the FPI/CSI/Level 2 Inclusive decreased at Foundation Phase and each Key Stage in 2015. In Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 there are 57pp and 66pp difference between those with at most 4 per cent absence and those with over 50% absenteeism. (Foundation Phase and Key Stage 2 cohorts are too small for this analysis).

Month of Birth

  • Generally, those born earlier in the academic year had higher percentages achieving the FPI/CSI/Level 2 Inclusive than those born later at Foundation Phase and each Key Stage. The difference is largest for Foundation Phase.

Pupil Referral Units

  • In 2015, 2.3 per cent of PRU pupils aged 15 achieved the Level 2 Inclusive compared to 57.9 per cent of all 15 year old pupils.


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