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Academic achievement by pupil characteristics

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  • Release date: 30 January 2018
  • Period covered: 2017
  • Next update: 31 January 2019
Data includes information by gender, ethnicity, English as an additional language, special educational needs, absenteeism and month of birth.
This data reports on academic achievement by pupil characteristics. It uses 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) and Pupils’ Attendance Record.

For Foundation Phase, we use the Foundation Phase Indicator (FPI) to measure progress. For Key Stages 2 and 3, the Core Subject Indicator (CSI) is used. For Key Stage 4, we mainly use the Level 2 Threshold including English or Welsh First Language and Maths (L2EWM) to measure progress. For full definitions of these indicators please refer to the Key Quality Information section in last year’s Statistical Release.

Key points

In 2017, for the Foundation Phase and Key Stages 2 to 4

  • Girls achievement was higher than boys.
  • Chinese or Chinese British ethnic background pupils academic achievement was generally higher than pupils from other ethnic backgrounds.
  • Pupils studying English as an Additional Language generally had higher academic achievement where they were classified as ‘competent’ or ‘fluent’.
  • Pupils without Special Educational Needs (SEN) had a higher level of academic achievement than pupils with SEN provision.
  • Pupils with lower absence rates generally had a higher level of academic achievement.
  • Pupils born earlier in the academic year generally had a higher level of academic achievement than pupils born later in the year.
  • Key messages are consistent with the analysis from previous years. 


Key Stage 4 cohort from 2016 is based on pupils who were in Year 11. Up to 2015, the cohort is based on pupils aged 15 at the start of the academic year.

Following recommendations from independent reviews and policy changes announced by Welsh Government, several key changes have been implemented to the Key Stage 4 (KS4) performance measures data in this 2016/17 report which impacts on comparisons with previous years. Therefore, comparisons with previous years should be avoided in many cases. Please see the full report for more information.

Further information

This year the data has been updated without an associated statistical report. All the data previously available through that release has been published.

The annual data on academic achievement by pupil characteristics will be published from 2019 onwards as a statistical headline with accompanying StatsWales tables. Data was previously published annually alternating between a full statistical report and a set of Excel tables. We would welcome any feedback from users on this approach.


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