Education Funding Agency to delete ‘erroneous reports’

Errors have been  found in data and management information reports published by the Education Funding Agency (EFA).

The reports, which give local authorities an overview of the 16 to 19 provision in their area, incorrectly included adult learners in  further education.

A spokesperson for the EFA told FE Week that Qualification Success Rates (QSR)  should only include data for 16 to 18 year-olds. Part of the report has been affected as a result.

“We have subsequently revised our code and are in the process of producing and checking updated reports for all FE colleges, sixth-form colleges and independent private providers,” the EFA spokesperson said.

“We will delete the erroneous reports and upload corrected versions as soon as possible.”

The EFA said the issue was a “coding error” and later emphasised that it had “no concerns” with the data provided by colleges.

“In this instance our quality assurance process was not sufficiently robust and will be revisited for future releases,” the spokesperson said.

“However, there should be no impact of there being a relatively minor error in this report.”

The reports are not in the public domain, but are available both to local authorities and education providers through the information management portal.

The “coding error” was identified by members of the College Management Information Systems (CMIS) network.

One CMIS manager suggested there could be more to the problem than the inclusion of adult learner data.

“I’m not entirely sure where they’re getting the figures from for the learner numbers, Standard Learning Numbers and out-turn funding as they don’t agree with our final claim figures (which came from the Learner Information Suite from our final Individualised Learner Record),” the manager said.

“They’re clearly not including adults because they’re only out by a relatively small number, but it does mean I have no idea what to check it against.”

The inclusions of adult learner data in the EFA reports follow significant errors in other data sets published by government agencies.

The National Success Rate Tables for 2010/11 were removed last month after more than 23 per cent of qualifications were found to be showing an “unknown” level, up from 2 per cent in the earlier QSR.

Meanwhile a breach report published by the UK Statistics Authority found that FE Choices, a website that allows the public to compare the performance of providers, had 2,700 changes to “unique values”.