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Analytical Review (UK Government Department for Education) (LAEP Inventory)

Cloud created by:

Rebecca Ferguson
11 February 2016


The Analytical Review, which was published in April 2013, was concerned with the role of research, analysis, and the use of data within the UK Government Department for Education (DfE) and its schools and children’s services (in the UK, education and social services for children are related through legislation). The review has two parts: ‘Building Evidence into Education’ by Ben Goldacre and ‘Data Systems’ by Roger Plant.


In addition to covering matters of education research and the potential for more evidence-based policy and practice, and modernisation of the statistical work undertaken in the DfE, the report considered matters which relate more directly to the conduct of teaching and learning, It can therefore be considered as dealing with learning analytics, although neither of the two parts of the review explored classroom practice. A key conclusion which over-arches much of the report on data and analysis is that the system should move away from periodic centralised data collection, which is often seen as being a burden at school level and provides low reward at that level, to more real-time data exchanges with greater utility at school level.


The report asserts that more fluid and timely data exchanges would: ‘Support teaching and learning directly. The system will be able to cater for broadening data demands particularly in relation to performance and pedagogical data held in systems such as learning platforms.’


The report recommended that the DfE should, among other things:

  • Lead culture change: setting an expectation that evidence is an integral part of education policy and delivery and that research skills are the key to professional improvement and freedom.
  • Make sharing real-time data easier, more efficient and more attractive.
  • Encourage a flourishing secondary market to improve data access and analysis by parents, schools and others.


It also identified the importance of interoperable IT systems in delivering real-time data exchanges.


Inventory type:

analysis of policy-related issues

Document source:

national government: UK (commissioned report)


real-time data, interoperability, research skills (teachers)

Policy Context




national: UK


The Analytical Review was primarily concerned not with learning analytics but with performance management of education and evidence-based policy and practice. As such the Review envisions a future state in which more ambitious learning analytics would become feasible.

Maturity and Evidence of Utility

This is a major external policy review that stimulated a large capital project, the School Performance Data Programme, although this was subsequently cancelled due to delivery problems, and replaced with some small-scale pilots.

Further Information

Location of policy document:

Report on cancellation of the Schools Performance Data Programme (Computer World):

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