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Young participation – 18 and 19 year-olds in higher education in England – has increased in the last decade. But the level of participation still varies across the country.

This map allows users to select which key factors they want to account for when exploring local young participation.

It then illustrates where the level of young participation is higher or lower than expected, where the expected level is based on the factors selected.

Map of gaps in young participation

Using the map

‌The map uses census wards in England. It colour codes the extent of the participation gap in each ward using one of five groups or ‘quintiles’.

In quintile 1, shaded red, young participation is much lower than expected. In quintile 5, shaded blue, participation is much higher than expected. In quintile 3, shaded yellow, young participation rates are as expected.

Clicking an area of the map will show its name, young participation rate and participation gap quintile.

  • Participation rate = the percentage of 18 and 19 year-olds that enter higher education.
  • Participation gap = the difference from the expected young participation level. 
  • Rank = the area's place on a spectrum from 1 to 7,967, where 1 has the most negative gap and 7,967 the most positive. 

Information on some areas has been suppressed due to small numbers.

Interpreting the maps

1. Central Birmingham

Exploring the maps shows that the view of the HE participation landscape in Birmingham changes significantly when ethnic mix is accounted for.

The blue areas in Map 1 indicate that given the levels of KS4 attainment, participation is higher than expected. In Map 2, however, these local areas become red, showing that if we consider the ethnic mix of the pupils in this area, in addition to attainment, participation is lower than anticipated.

Overall, this suggests that in Birmingham higher than expected participation levels are driven by the local ethnic mix groups, but these ethnic groups are actually underperforming relative to their national level.

2. Exeter

Maps 3 and 4 show the difference in the young participation picture in Devon, when we account for GCSE-level attainment.

Where local areas appear to have average or above average levels of young participation in Map3, Map 4 indicates that these levels are lower than we would expect if we take into account the GCSE-level attainment of the pupils that reside there.

Further information about gaps in young participation

Download the Further information about gaps in young participation as PDF (372 KB)

Get the data

Download the Gaps in young participation data as MS Excel Spreadsheet (3,585 KB)

Download the look-up between postcode and Gaps and POLAR3 data (May 2015 ONS National Postcode Directory)

Download the Look-up between postcode and Gaps and POLAR3 data (May 2015 ONS National Postcode Directory) as zip (4,882 KB)

Note that the file above is too large to fully open in Microsoft Excel. It can be opened in a specialist database or statistical package (for example, Microsoft Access, SPSS) or alternatively in Microsoft Notepad, from which it can be saved in sections into Excel. 

Currently this file contains a lookup to Gaps quintiles accounting for KS4 attainment and ethnicity, only. We plan to make the other Gaps classifications available in this format shortly.

Page last updated 25 November 2016