Completion rate for primary and lower secondary education is used. For upper secondary education completion rate a proxy for GCSE attainment at KS4 (in state-funded schools) is used.

Sub-categories

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Headline data

Source: UNESCO Institute for Statistics and The World Bank

Geographical Area: United Kingdom for completion rate, England for KS4 Achievement

Unit of Measurement: Percentage (%)

Footnote:

Primary and Lower secondary completion rates do not adjust for students who drop out during the final year of education. Thus this rate is a proxy that should be taken as an upper estimate of the actual completion rate.

Please note the y axis does not go to 100% for ease of visualisation.

This table provides metadata for the actual indicator available from UK statistics closest to the corresponding global SDG indicator. Please note that even when the global SDG indicator is fully available from UK statistics, this table should be consulted for information on national methodology and other UK-specific metadata information.

Indicator available

Completion rate for primary and lower secondary education is used. For upper secondary education completion rate a proxy for GCSE attainment at KS4 (in state-funded schools) is used.

Indicator description
Geographical coverage

United Kingdom for completion rate, England for KS4 Achievement

Unit of measurement

Percentage (%)

Definitions

Primary and lower secondary education completion rate is measured as the gross intake ratio to the last grade of lower primary/secondary education. It is calculated as the number of new entrants (enrollments minus repeaters) in the last grade of primary/lower secondary education, regardless of age, divided by the population at the entrance age for the last grade of primary/lower secondary education.

GCSE attainment is the percentage of pupils achieving grade 4/C or above in English and maths GCSEs in state-funded schools.

Available disaggregations
Calculations

No calculations were performed in the data acquisition of this indicator as appropriate data was readily available in the final format specified by this proxy indicator. For insight into the details of potential calculations please refer to the original source methodology information.

Other information

There are many reasons why the primary and lower secondary completion rate can exceed 100 percent - the numerator may include late entrants and overage children who have repeated one or more grades of primary education as well as children who entered school early, while the denominator is the number of children at the entrance age for the last grade of primary education.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, summer exams were cancelled in 2020. Pupils scheduled to sit GCSE and A/AS level exams in 2020 were awarded either a centre assessment grade or their calculated grade using a model developed by Ofqual. The new method of awarding grades has led to a set of pupil attainment statistics that are unlike previous years. As a result the 2019/20 data should not be directly compared to attainment data from previous years for the purposes of measuring changes in student performance and, therefore, are not presented on the 'upper secondary education' graph. For more information please visit DfE KS4 2019/20

This indicator is being used as an approximation of the UN SDG Indicator. Where possible, we will work to identify or develop UK data to meet the global indicator specification. This indicator has been identified in collaboration with topic experts.

Data last updated 19 August 2021
Metadata last updated 10 February 2022

This table provides information on metadata for SDG indicators as defined by the UN Statistical Commission. Complete global metadata is provided by the UN Statistics Division.

Indicator name

Completion rate (primary education, lower secondary education, upper secondary education)

Target name

By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes

Global indicator description
UN designated tier

Tier I

UN custodian agency

UNESCO Institute for Statistics

Link to UN metadata United Nations Sustainable Development Goals metadata for target 4.1 opens in a new window

Source 1

Organisation

UNESCO Institute for Statistics and The World Bank

Periodicity

Annual

Earliest available data

2015

Geographical coverage

United Kingdom

Link to data source Primary completion rate opens in a new window
Release date 01 September 2020
Next release

TBA

Statistical classification

Official

Contact details

uis.datarequests@unesco.org

Other information

Primary completion rate - methodology

Source 2

Organisation

UNESCO Institute for Statistics and The World Bank

Periodicity

Annual

Earliest available data

2017

Geographical coverage

United Kingdom

Link to data source Lower secondary completion rate opens in a new window
Release date 01 September 2020
Next release

TBA

Statistical classification

Official

Contact details

uis.datarequests@unesco.org

Other information

Secondary completion rate - methodology

Source 3

Organisation

Department for Education

Periodicity

Annual

Earliest available data

2010 to 2011

Geographical coverage

England

Link to data source Key stage 4 performance 2019 opens in a new window
Release date 17 October 2019
Next release

TBA

Statistical classification

Official

Contact details

Attainment.STATISTICS@education.gov.uk

Other information

Data in table 'Percentage of pupils achieving grade 4/C or above in English and maths GCSEs' in the 'Characteristics summary' in the national characteristics tables document.

Figures for 2010/11 to 2017/18 are based on final data, figures for 2018/19 are based on revised data. Pupils are included in the year in which they were at the end of key stage 4, but figures include entries and achievements by these pupils in previous academic years.

Attainment in KS4 - methodology