The NPD is a pupil level database which matches pupil and school characteristic data to pupil level attainment. PLASC is the key source of data for pupil characteristics. This dataset includes several variables previously unavailable in other datasets including ethnicity, a low-income marker, information on Special Education Needs (SEN), and a history of schools attended.
The NPD contains information on key pupil characteristics. These include several variables previously unavailable in other datasets including ethnicity, a low-income marker, information on Special Education Needs (SEN), and a history of schools attended. Pupils’ Keystage attainment records can also be added from the NPD. Attainment data, but not pupil characteristics are available for non-maintained schools.
PLASC/NPD has a number of key features. First, it provides information on all children in state schools in England, linked to their schools, as they progress through primary and secondary school. The fact that it is a census dataset – it contains the population of all pupils in state schools – is very helpful for a number of different analyses, relative to a dataset based on a sample of schools. For example, children can be tracked across schools. Second, it is longitudinal, and children can now be followed throughout their school careers. Third, it provides a very rich set of data on school characteristics. As it is a census, this includes details of the peer group (the school-cohort) of any particular child. Fourth, there is scope for linking in data from other related datasets – for example, on neighbourhoods or on teachers in schools.
The Department for Education has reviewed and improved its governance arrangements and application procedures for handling requests for data from the National Pupil Database. From 30 July 2012, interested parties can request extracts of data from the National Pupil Database (NPD) using the application pack available on the Department for Education website: http://www.education.gov.uk/researchandstatistics/national-pupil-database.
Over the last ten years extracts of the data have been shared under strict terms and conditions with named bodies and third parties who require data for research into the educational achievement of pupils. The data has provided invaluable evidence on educational performance to inform independent research, as well as analysis carried out or commissioned by the Department. The improved access arrangements aim to encourage more organisations to request access to the data for educational research, maximising the value of this rich dataset.
The Department has developed a number of standard extracts which they hope will fulfil many peoples’ needs and speed up access to the data. The extracts have been organised into four different tiers of access, each with their own governance arrangements. More information on standard extracts and a full list of data items available in each tier, including new information at School level, can be found in the data tables on the NPD web page.
Customers with more complex requirements can still request a bespoke extract of the data. All applications will go through a robust approval process and those granted access will be subject, as before, to strict terms and conditions on the security, handling and use of the data, including compliance with the Data Protection Act. Anyone requesting access to the most sensitive data will also be required to submit a business case and provide additional information about their security arrangements.
You will find full details of the application process including the new NPD User Guide and Protocol, NPD Data Requests Application Pack and Data Security Self-Assessment form at: http://www.education.gov.uk/researchandstatistics/national/b00212283/national-pupil-database