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HESA widening participation and non-continuation statistics to lose ‘Performance Indicator’ branding

From 2023 HESA will no longer publish UK Performance Indicators for higher education providers. Existing indicators will reviewed for inclusion in HESA’s Official Statistics and open data outputs.

View blog post: Measure for measures

In a blog post on the HESA website Jonathan Waller, Director of Data & Innovation sets out the history of Performance Indicators in UK higher education and the future of these widely used statistics.

First published in 1998 Performance Indicators have included the participation rates of students from under-represented groups, non-continuation rates, graduate employment and further study, take-up of disabled student allowance, and research output. Indicators have been published each year alongside a benchmark to assess each provider’s performance.

Since 1998 higher education in the UK has evolved significantly with funding and regulation differing in England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. With each nation’s policy now using a wide range of data and statistics, Waller announced that the next edition of the UK Performance Indicators in 2022 will be the last in its current form.

HESA recognises that statistics such as widening participation and non-continuation rates represent a useful and stable time series of data. The blog post stresses that where there is continuing demand for comparable measures they will be produced as part of HESA’s open data and business intelligence services without a break in the time series.

Jonathan Waller said:

“We will focus our efforts on developing useful and innovative approaches to data analysis, in order to deliver greater insight for our users. This will be informed by research activity and grounded in a sound understanding of the evolving HE policy environments across the UK.

"I believe these changes will enable HESA to distil the greatest value from the existing UKPIs suite and continue to deliver this through our core statistical publications. At the same time it will enable us to focus efforts on innovation and enhancement – creating new statistics and services that can be rapidly adapted to address the changing needs of our users.”



Press Officer