This article deals with some of the more technical aspects surrounding the production of the Education Quizzes interactive maps. If you just want to use the maps without getting bogged down in the technical stuff then you might like to go straight to “ What are the Best Schools Near Me? ”
Our maps project uses the most up-to-date information available and at the time of writing this is the set of statistics for primary schools that was published on 13 December 2012 and the statistics for secondary schools that was published on 24 January 2013. We are sincerely grateful for the Department of Education (DfE) for allowing us to use the data.
The raw data for all the tables can be downloaded from the Department of Education website and the metadata (descriptions of all the codes used) can be found at their metadata page.
The amount of work that the DfE put into the collation of statistics is mind-blowing. There are over 15,000 primary schools to deal with each year and approximately 170 individual pieces of information are required for each school. For the 5,000 odd secondary schools there are nearly 260 pieces of information required for each.
Ofsted and the DfE are often confused by parents but they are not the same thing. Ofsted are the guys who periodically annoy teachers by descending upon them to rate them and their schools and then produce “Inspection Reports” but it is the DfE who are responsible for the annual production of the school league tables.
For each county and for each London borough our programming sorts the primary school data as follows: First it organizes the schools by their percentage score in what the DfE affectionately label as “PTENGMATX” – the percentage of pupils achieving level 4 or above in both English and mathematics. Then, when two or more schools share the same percentage they are ordered by “PTENGMATAX” – the percentage of pupils achieving level 5 or above in both English and mathematics.
Moving on to the way that the data is ordered for the secondary school tables: First the programme orders “AC5EM12” – the percentage of pupils achieving 5+ A* – C or equivalents including A* – C in both English and mathematics GCSE’s in 2012. Then, when two or more schools share the same percentage they are ordered by “PTAC5” – the percentage of pupils achieving 5+ A*- C or equivalents.
The next update of the maps is not due until new data is ready in late 2013/early 2014 but do please let us know of any improvements you would like us to make so that we have time to consider your wishes.