History

SchoolDash was created by Timo Hannay, a London-based parent, data geek and education obsessive, in September 2015. Timo was formerly the founder of Digital Science, a research software business. Before that he was variously director of nature.com, a consultant at McKinsey & Company, a writer for The Economist and a research neurophysiologist at the University of Oxford and Waseda University in Tokyo. He is also a non-executive director of Sage Publishing.

Contact

We always welcome feedback, suggestions and requests. Please write to us at [email protected].

You can also follow us on Twitter: @SchoolDash.

Data

This site uses information from multiple sources, particularly the UK Department for Education (DfE) and Office for National Statistics (ONS). We take great care to ensure that the data are correct, but there's so much of it, and this service is so new, that some errors are inevitable, both in the original sources and in our own analyses.

The data mostly concern maintained (that is, taxpayer-funded state) schools in England. These include academies and free schools that are not under local authority control. The data for independent (ie, private fee-paying) schools is limited because in general they do not have to submit the same level of information that state schools are required to provide. We plan to add data for schools in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland too, but those are published separately and we haven't got around to analysing them yet.

The information presented here mainly covers the period from 2011 to 2016, with new data added as soon as it is issued. Regular data updates are made on a weekly basis, usually over the weekend, though this schedule is sometimes adjusted for particularly significant new data releases.

Please also note that the DfE omits to publish certain subsets of data representing small numbers of pupils. This is mainly in order to protect children's confidentiality. (For example, if a school has only one or two children from a particular ethnic group then it may suppress data about the academic performance of that group because this could potentially be used to infer the academic perfomance of the individual children concerned. Information about the same children would typically still be included in data relating to other larger cohorts, such as year groups, where their privacy would not be at risk.) Such information has necessarily been omitted from our database. This doesn't significantly affect most analyses but can skew certain results, especially when looking at very specific pupil groups or particular schools.

In general, please take any surprising results with a pinch of salt, at least until you have verified them – something with which we can help. Similarly, before making important decisions based on any of the data presented here please take care to verify your understanding with us or with the school(s) concerned. If you spot a pattern that looks particularly interesting – or just plain wrong – then drop us a note at the address above and we'll look into it.

Dashboards

The current version of our Dashboards covers around 40,000 schools and other educational institutions in England. These currently provide a profile of each school or institution, including details such as location and contact information, staff and pupil composition, budget, Ofsted ratings and links to a variety of external resources.

They also include lists of nearby and similar schools. The similar school lists are generated by comparing the characteristics of the respective pupils populations. For example, the age ranges and sex ratios of the pupils as well as the proportions who are economically deprived or who have particular educational needs. The most similar schools apear at the top of the list. We're continuing to refine this algorithm, so don't be surprised to see these lists change. In recognition of their unique status, we don't currently try to provide lists of similar schools for institutions such as special schools or pupil referral units.

Over the coming months we will be adding much more information about each school, including academic attainment, pupil composition and financial details. To make it easier to understand what's changed, a list of major updates to the site is maintained in the Updates section below, and the dates of the most recent changes to the data and code are given at the bottom of each web page.

Maps

When viewing the Maps, please check the comments at the bottom of each page. These often contain further explanations or important qualifications about the specific data field being displayed. It isn't possible to post comments yourself, but if you have an insight to add then write to us at the address above and we'll happily consider adding your contribution for others to view.

Please also pay attention to sample sizes and data ranges. Particularly for small geographical areas, data may be based on only one or two schools. Hover your cursor over the area in question to see these details. Note also that the colour range used in each map automatically adjusts itself to cover whatever the range is nationally (rounded to the nearest whole number). For some data fields, this range is very narrow, which will accentuate small differences. You should therefore take care to look at the scale in the top-right corner of each map to understand whether the range you are looking at is broad or narrow.

You can also view the geographical distributions and scores of individual schools. For further explanations of this and other features please see the instructions contained in the 'I don't get it, explain' section on the Maps page.

We assign schools to particular national regions, parliamentary constituencies and electoral wards based mainly on their postcodes, using look-up tables provided by the ONS. For some schools these results differ from the geographical assignments made by the DfE, but in our judgement they appear to be more accurate, at least where the school postcode provided is current and correct. Assignment of schools to local authorities uses a different approach: here we rely almost exclusively on data provided by the DfE, which we consider to be the definitive source for this information. If you disagree with any of our assignments, or have other comments to make, please write to us at the address above.

Browsers

Use of this website requires an up-to-date web browser such as Chrome, Safari, Firefox or Internet Explorer. Most pages will not work in version 8 (or earlier) of Internet Explorer. They should display correctly on mobile devices, but some of the more information-heavy pages may be slow to load over low-bandwidth connections.

Attribution

You may reproduce selected data and images from the dashboards and maps on this site provided that you give attribution to "SchoolDash.com". If you're publishing online then please include a link too. You may not systematically download multiple of pages, images or data sets, or reproduce any of the information in a wholesale fashion. If in doubt, please contact us at the address above.

Privacy

This website complies with all UK national laws and requirements for user privacy.

Cookies: We do not use cookies, but we do use Google Analytics which employs cookies to track visitor usage. Google's software will save one or more cookies (small text files) on your computer in order to track and monitor your engagement and usage of the website. It will not collect or store personal information. You can read Google's privacy policy here.

Contacts: Users contacting us do so at their own discretion. Any personal information you provide is kept private and stored securely until it's no longer required. Your details will not be passed on to any third parties.

Links: We do not take responsibility for the contents of any external websites to which we link.

Acknowledgements

This site uses data obtained mainly from the UK Department for Education (DfE) and Office for National Statistics (ONS). Particular thanks are due to numerous staff at the DfE for help in obtaining and understanding the data they gather so assiduously. The terms and licence under which data are made available from the ONS require us to include the following copyright statements:

Contains National Statistics data © Crown copyright and database right 2016.

Contains Royal Mail data © Royal Mail copyright and database right 2016.

Finally, sincere thanks to Mike Bostock and the other contributors to D3.js, and to the creators of Bootstrap, both of which software frameworks have been central in the creation of this site. Thanks also to the people who built NVD3 and to Felix Gnass for creating the wonderfully elegant spin.js.

Updates

22nd March 2017: School Profile Pages now include information about ethnic mix, and how this compares with the local area, as well as further comparison metrics regarding children who are eligible for free school meals. This is to complement our new analysis and joint report with The Challenge and the iCoCo Foundation.

20th March 2017: New maps and cartograms incorporating the latest boundary data from the ONS and a variety of updates from the DfE.

27th February 2017: Added various new 2016 and 2017 data sets, including Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5 attainment results and latest Ofsted data.

22nd October 2016: Newly released 2016 GCSE results are now incorporated in our Explorer and Statistics applications. We've also further refined the way that Ofsted data is processed and presented across the site.

21st September 2016: We've made improvements to the way we process data from Ofsted. This will enable us to provide more timely updates as new Ofsted inspection results and ratings are published.

12th September 2016: SchoolDash has turned one! :) To celebrate, we've launched a major new feature, SchoolDash Explorer, which allows you to browse schools and view their characteristics using Google Maps. We also have a new logo and colour scheme – we hope you like them.

1st August 2016: Major improvements to School Profile Pages and the underlying database, including addition of local child deprivation statistics for state schools to support the accompanying blog post on social selection in schools.

21st March 2016: New maps and cartograms incorporating recently updated geographical information from the ONS and the latest pupil numbers from the DfE.

1st March 2016: New data to support comparative analyses of A-Level and GCSE data in state and private secondary schools and sixth-form colleges.

22nd February 2016: Added new data on A-Level and other Key Stage 5 attainment measures, such as A-Level Value-Added Score.

15th February 2016: Richer information on independent schools added to our usual weekly data update.

8th February 2016: Numerous small improvements to School Profile Pages, Maps and underlying schools data.

1st February 2016: School Profiles now indicate 'diamond' schools (such as this one), among other improvements.

27th January 2016: Added data fields (such as this one) associated with our analysis of single-sex secondary schools.

26th January 2016: Added new full data sets for 2015 GCSE and A-Level exam results. Also changed definition of 'special' schools to include other types of non-mainstream establishment, so if you filter these out when viewing the Maps you may get fewer schools than before.

4th January 2016: First update of 2016 – Happy New Year! :-)

14th December 2015: Maps and Dashboards now incorporate a large new data release from the Department for Education, including 2015 Key Stage 2 attainment data.

13th November 2015: Added data on eligibility for free school meals to the School Profile Pages.

11th November 2015: We noticed a bug in the Maps code that was affecting some Safari users. This is now fixed; apologies for any inconvenience.

10th November 2015: Various improvements and bug fixes to Maps functionality, fresh schools data, and analysis of regional differences across England.

30th October 2015: Addition of preliminary 2015 GCSE results data. New Maps functionality to allow overlay of 'pins' representing individual schools (see example); each of these also links to the relevant school Dashboard.

13th October 2015: New Dashboards incorporating links between related schools, information about school provenance and history, and numerous other improvements.

6th October 2015: Various improvements to Dashboard data quality and display. Minor upgrades to search functionality.

1st October 2015: Initial version of Dashboard profile pages launched for around 40,000 schools and other educational institutions in England. All data updated to reflect the latest information issued by the DfE and other sources.

14th September 2015: Added EBacc Science data fields (example) to the Maps. Also updated some website text in response to feedback.

10th September 2015: Site launched with initial Maps data.

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