Help using this site

How do I view a school’s financial data?

You can search for a school on the homepage by name, location, local authority or unique reference number. Once you’ve selected a school, you’ll be taken to a summary page showing the school’s income and expenditure in different areas. There’s a range of data for each school, which you can access using the dropdown menu beneath the appropriate tab.

If you want to download a CSV file with a full range of data, click the link next to ‘Download data URL’.

What does having a default school do?

If you choose to have a default school, this means the school’s data will be highlighted in any comparison charts you generate. You can set your default school on the school summary page by clicking ‘Set as default school’.

How do I compare a single school with others?

There are two ways to do this:

  • you can build a benchmark basket that includes a default school
  • you can go to a school summary page and select ‘Compare with other schools’

How do I compare a group of schools?

There’s a feature which allows you to compare a group of schools without using a single school as your starting point. To do this, go to the homepage and select the appropriate option beneath ‘Across a set of schools’. Once you get to a results page, you can add schools to a benchmarking basket using the green button.

How do I choose characteristics?

If you use the ‘Compare with other schools’ feature, you have two options for choosing characteristics. You can:

  • do a quick comparison using pre-selected characteristics
  • do an advanced comparison using criteria you choose

If you do an advanced comparison, you choose the characteristics you’re interested in using the tick boxes.

You’ll be given information about the school you’re comparing with, which should help if you’re asked to specify a range. It's important to choose parameters that don't generate a huge number of results.

There’s a counter at the top of the page that will show you how many schools match the criteria you’ve chosen.

Once you’ve added all the characteristics you want, click ‘View benchmarking charts’.

If the number of schools found is greater than 30, you’ll be asked to refine the characteristics to reduce the size of the set. You can do this by narrowing the parameters used or selecting additional characteristics.

If you decide to do a quick comparison, the system can automatically reduce large sets of results.

Gaps in the data

You might find gaps in the data you view. This could be because:

  • data has been suppressed to protect privacy
  • data hasn't been returned by a school
  • data isn't available because some metrics have been introduced recently (Progress 8 and Attainment 8 data, for example, is only available from 2015 onwards.)

Interpreting the data

You should take care when interpreting the data. It shows the position of a school relative to others; it doesn’t explain why this is. There may be good reasons for a school to have high or low figures. What’s important is that those involved in budget setting review the differences, and consider the reasons for them.

Which types of schools can I get data for?

The data on the site is for maintained schools and academies in England. It’s based on schools’ Consistent Financial Reporting (CFR) returns and academies’ accounting returns. You can also get data for multi-academy trusts (MATs).