The Administrative Data Research Network was an ESRC-funded project that ran from October 2013 to July 2018. It is currently at the end of its funding cycle and is no longer taking applications. Administrative data research will be taken forward in a new project, which was launched at the end of 2018.

Visit the Administrative Data Research Partnership for further information. 

This archival website reflects the state of play at the end of the project in July 2018. All content has been frozen and may not be up to date.

open menu

Data for Children: school-age pupil outcomes

Scope and purpose

The Data for Children Theme examines the social and economic issues that determine educational, skills, well-being, and other outcomes for children as they reach adulthood.  In particular it will wherever possible put children in the context of their family and household circumstances, so that interventions, services, and other interactions relating to children are seen in context of family and household circumstances rather than in isolation.  The first objective being pursued by this Theme is to associate pupil educational attainment records at ages 11 and 16 with 2011 Census household records, in particular for those pupils taking Key Stage 2 tests in the same year as their household was completing its 2011 Census return. If approved and supported by the data owners, this administrative cohort study will enable research examining different educational attainment outcomes at 16 for children taking into account school type, family and household structures, and the social and economic circumstances as described through the 2011 Census.  With further support, this building block can be enhanced longitudinally with destinations data for children entering further education and apprenticeships, and entry into the labour market; as well as enhancement cross-sectionally with additional information from other sources about their household and family members.


The Data for Children Partnership will agree objectives at each of its Partner meetings.  At the first meeting, it was proposed “To construct dataset to enable a better understanding of school-age educational attainment, in particular through examination of the social and economic characteristics of other members of their household and of their household’s accommodation.”  The feasibility of this objective will be explored and reported before agreement can be reached.

Such a dataset could form the basis for future enhancement by adding other administrative records for each pupil and/or members of the pupil’s household in accordance with the Partnership’s understanding of research and policy evidence needs.

The process we follow from agreement of objective through to use 

There are two main approaches to the use of administrative data to enhance research and to fill evidence gaps for themes.

  1. we will seek to enhance existing longitudinal and cohort studies by assisting them in the acquisition of administrative data to extend the breadth and depth of these studies capabilities, and
  2. we will create new study datasets, and curate them to provide a data resource that can form the foundation of new scientific research and respond to policy evidence inquiries

Work currently underway

Initial scoping and partnership development.

Partnership meetings

The first meeting was held on 28 September 2017 and was attended by representatives from invited Partner organisations.   The agenda asked Partners for their views on the key social and economic issues faced by children, what insights are needed to better understand those issues, d therefore what administrative data should be prepared and used to support the necessary scientific research and provide the information for the targeted insights.


The first meeting was Chaired by Tim Leunig, at the time the Chief Scientific Adviser to the Department for Education (DfE).  Tim has since left DfE and has stepped down as Chair.

Leon Feinstein, Director of Evidence, Children's Commissioner’s Office, will take over as Chair.

Theme leader

This Theme is led by Professor David Ford, Director of the Administrative Data Research Centre for Wales (ADRC-W). David is Professor of Health Informatics at Swansea University and also Deputy Director of The Farr Institute, funded by a consortium of top UK research funders led by the Medical Research Council. David is the lead of the SAIL Databank, an internationally recognised data linkage resource formed from a wide variety of routinely collected data from across Wales. David is Fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of the Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (FRSA) and past Chairman and current Director of MediWales, a medical organisation representing the medical technology sector of Wales.

Partner organisations

Department for Education, Department for Works and Pensions, Department for Communities and Local Government, Economic and Social Research Council, National Foundation for Educational Research, Higher Education Statistics Agency, Office for National Statistics, HM Revenue & Customs, Institute for Fiscal Studies, UCAS, HEFCE, Nuffield Foundation, What Works Centre for Crime Reduction, Evidence for The Children’s Commissioners, Next Steps (formerly LSYPE), Early Interventions Foundation, Alliance for Useful Evidence, Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, and the Turing Institute.

Correspondence sent out to Partners

Letter of invitation to join the Partnership

Follow-up letter for first Objective

Next meeting(s)

Friday 2nd February 2018, London

Page last updated: 27/07/2018