Please note the video below refers to KS1 which became non-statutory in 2023 and should be ignored from that point on.
Early attainment and progress data for schools
Early NCER data, including NCER national benchmarks, are the earliest and most reliable primary phase attainment and progress data available nationally for EYFSP, Phonics and KS2.
NCER has had many years of providing reliable and accurate early results that schools and local authorities can rely on.
The accuracy of Early NCER data is possible ahead of the summer term due to 153 of 154 local authorities in England uploading school returns for the above assessments into a system (Nexus) which in turn automatically populates the school system, Perspective Lite.
EYFSP and Phonics results are loaded into the system BEFORE the LA sends those results on to the DfE on behalf of the schools. The system facilitates the LA data quality checks, but also then the results are all available within the system by the statutory deadline for submission.
While DfE have still not received all of the results or analysed them, NCER is then able to leverage the data that has already been loaded to provide reporting and analysis.
KS2 data is loaded into the system by nearly every LA in the days following the KS2 results release on the second Tuesday of July, providing the same early data across the main primary accountability assessments.
Benefits of Early National Data
The main benefit of access to Early National data is allowing schools and LA to start planning based on the results achieved before the summer break. Instead of just looking at their own results, NCER provides the capability to have national comparisons which - like school results - can be drilled down into.
Reporting is available to schools and LA - with early national comparisons - well ahead of DfE publications, allowing them to access the details that matter to them and fully informed by the national, regional and local context for those same groups.
This also - prior to the publication of official DfE data - allows schools to choose which sets of results they will put in front of an Inspector in the event of an Inspection in the first months of the academic year before Inspectors have access to the IDSR. This is useful, even under a framework that places less emphasis on school results. It remains important to be able to demonstrate an understanding of the pupils and cohorts within the schools and put their performance into context.
During the period that data is still being loaded (ahead of the statutory submission deadline for EYFSP and Phonics / in the few days after the KS2 results are published) results are referred to as 'Emerging'. Through this period LA, Regional and National results will be changing as each school/LA set of data is loaded.
In the early days, when the sample size is still relatively immature those LA, Regional and National comparisons are subject to significant fluctuation and change. As the sample size increases the fluctuations become less pronounced.
Experience has demonstrated that approximately 10% of the overall expected pupils is the point at which the national figures can start to be considered 'mature' and are much less likely to fluctuate to any significant extent and by the time 60% have been submitted will barely change any further. It is at this point that schools and LA can start to compare themselves to the Regional and National figures presented.
LAs can determine the proportion of the expected pupils who have been received through the Keypas Import Indicators. Schools will need to rely on their LA sharing that information with them.
It is important that within schools and local authorities - and despite the proven reliability of the NCER Early National data over a number of years - users are cognisant that data remains unvalidated until published by the DfE and annotate any reports that they produce accordingly.
For more information on where in the system you can access NCER Early Data see THIS article