The earliest census data on education come from a separate survey of schools
in 1851, which reported the number of male and female pupils on each school's
register but was otherwise more concerned with how each schools was funded
than with what the pupils learnt, or even with how old they were.
The next data to be collected in England and Wales come from the 1951 Census of Population and are mainly concerned with what point in the education system individuals reached: did they leave school as soon as was legal, without qualifications? did they get GCSEs? and did they go to university and get a degree? In general, this information covers everyone of working age, so it has to be seen as an 'average' of decisions to stay on at school or leave taken during the forty or fifty years prior to the census.
Unfortunately, the variation in what was reported by different censuses means none of our measures can be presented for every census, and also that the precise definitions of measures vary from census to census, so precise rates cannot generally be compared over time, only relative positions.
Our detailed statistics are held in structures called nCubes, which you can think of as tables with one dimension, or with two ... or with twenty. Their dimensions are defined by the variables each nCube combines, and each variable is made up of categories. These nCubes are available at national level for this theme:
|Available nCubes||Period covered||Variables
(number of categories)
|Voluntary schooling total||1851 to 2001||
Eligible for Vol. Schooling
|Voluntary school attendance, redistricted||1851 to 2001||
Voluntary school attendance
|Sunday school attendance, redistricted||1851||
Sunday School attendance
|Educational Level Total||1951 to 2001||
Educational Level Total
|Educational Level: Unqualified||1951 to 2001||
Obtaining basic qualifications
|Educational Level: Graduate||1951 to 2001||