Cross-cutting and post-16 education statistics during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

Darllenwch y dudalen hon yn Cymraeg

Our spring 2021 statistical publications on post-16 education during 2019/20 will be different from previous years. The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has had a profound impact on many aspects of our society, not least education. Learning was disrupted following the lockdown back in March and the summer examination series was cancelled. These major changes affect our reporting and we want your feedback on our proposed approach.

Impact on performance reporting

The Minister for Education set out changes to qualification awards and performance measures in Written Statements dated 18 March 2020 and 3 July 2020. As a result, we will not be publishing our usual statistical releases on achievement in school sixth forms and further education colleges, and on learner outcomes in the work based learning and adult learning sectors.

All qualifications that would have been sat as examinations in the 2019/20 summer term were replaced with the best of either the centre assessed grade or the standardised grade calculated by the Welsh Joint Education Committee. We will report on the qualifications awarded to post-16 learners in a way that’s consistent with the A and AS level exam results already published by Qualifications Wales, the Joint Council for Qualifications and our own release on school examination results. However, the data sources we have available enable us to gain a broader understanding of the engagement of learners with their studies during this turbulent period.

We’re proposing to publish a statistical article on ‘Outcomes for learners in post-16 education affected by the coronavirus pandemic’ in March 2021. Besides reporting on qualifications awarded, we’re also aiming to provide analysis on the completion of learners’ studies in 2019/20, the retention and progression of learners into 2020/21 and look specifically at the progression of Year 11 school leavers into post-16 learning. This analysis will be at a national level and we will not produce statistics relating to individual learning providers.

We’ll be covering post-16 education in school sixth forms and further education colleges. We’ll look at vocational qualifications awarded as well as A levels. We’ll also cover learners enrolled on apprenticeships and traineeships, and those participating in adult learning. Analysis will be presented by learner characteristics to show how different groups have been affected, where our data allows us to do so.

What do you want to know?

We want to hear from you and we want to meet as many of your needs as we can through our reporting. If you have anything to say please get in touch with us at We’d be grateful for your thoughts by 22 January 2021 to give us enough time to consider them as we prepare the statistical article.

Developments in other areas

It’s been a busy period for us despite the changes to our usual performance reporting arrangements. We’re continuing to report monthly management information on apprentices furloughed or made redundant during the pandemic. It’s reassuring to see that the number of furloughed apprentices continues to fall, although 1,255 remain fully furloughed with a further 405 partially furloughed on 27 November 2020.

Over the summer we redesigned our annual releases on the participation of young people in education and the labour market and young people not in education, employment or training (NEET). We hope that the new format of these releases will help our users to easily find the information they need. Alongside these releases we published a methodology note on how we derive our participation estimates and a guide to the different sources of statistics on young people who are NEET in Wales.


Towards the beginning of the pandemic we decided to suspend the majority of our data collections from public bodies. As a result we postponed our annual statistical release on the statutory youth work sector in Wales for 2019-20. Whilst the data collection is now underway, we continue to be mindful of the impact on local authorities in providing us with the information at this time. We will pre-announce the release date on our website as soon as we are able to.

Jon Ackland
Head of cross-cutting and post-16 education Statistics