Who we are
Education Datalab brings together a group of expert researchers who turn curiosity about education into quantitative analysis. We launched in March 2015 as part of the non-profit company FFT Education Ltd. For the past 15 years, FFT has provided accurate and insightful information to schools and we share their vision of using data to enable pupils to achieve their full potential and schools to improve.
We produce independent, cutting-edge research that can be used by policy makers to inform education policy, and by schools to improve practice. We work collaboratively with research partners and make sure that our published research is accessible to policy makers and schools. Our short, accessible blog posts always contain data, but they are designed to be read by anyone in the education world.
Data can’t make good policy, but it can help policy-makers better understand the education system they are trying to reform.
We are a multi-disciplinary team, united by our expertise in and our love of the large-scale national and international educational datasets. The National Pupil Database in England, with detailed termly information about seven million school pupils matched over 12 years, is at the heart of much of our analysis. At the end of compulsory schooling we can track educational journeys through the Individualised Learner Records, the Higher Education Statistics Agency datasets and even into the workforce via the Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study.
We supplement these administrative datasets with analysis of education and employment surveys, including the Labour Force Survey and the OECD PISA study. We also routinely collect data through surveys or use smaller administrative databases collected directly from schools and colleges to supplement our analysis.
Our analysis of teacher labour markets principally uses the School Workforce Census, often matched to training record files. We also use the OECD Teaching and Learning International Survey, for which we are the project managers in 2018.
How we work
We are collaborative and flexible in how we work. We conduct entire projects for charities, government and companies in response to their needs, from inception of project to publication of report. For others we can simply generate the data and analysis that allows them to evaluate their organisation or policy ideas.
We excel in analysing large scale datasets. Where questions can be best answered using multiple research methods then we partner with others who specialise in other research techniques.
We work with educational organisations to help them use data to adapt what they think and do. And we work with schools to learn how policies are interpreted at the chalk-face and to help us interpret the data we collect on them.
We are responsive and reflective. We have the luxury of being an independent wing of FFT, with time to look at things, just because we think they are important or interesting. Many of our research ideas are self-generated, whether this is responding with a data-orientated perspective to policy ideas and education news or conducting a large piece of research over multiple years.
Whether you are a teacher, an organisation that works with young people, a policy maker, a commentator, a fellow researcher or an interested member of society we would love to join your conversation about creating the education system our children deserve.
Let us know what questions we should be looking to solve.