The UK Statistics Authority (UKSA), the body charged with ensuring official statistics are properly used, is investigating claims made by education secretary Damian Hinds at last week’s Conservative party conference and a claim by schools minister Nick Gibb.
Hinds said that ‘1.9 million more children are in good or outstanding schools than in 2010’.
The Education Policy Institute (EPI) think tank has challenged the numbers in the past. In July, the EPI called on ministers to ‘ditch their favourite line’ because they say the figure is flawed.
The EPI pointed out that the statistic does not take into account population growth, changes to the nature and frequency of Ofsted inspections, or changes in school governance after schools become academies.
The second investigation relates to a claim by the Department for Education on its website, and repeated by schools minister Nick Gibb on BBC Radio, that the ‘OECD has recently confirmed that the UK is the third highest spender on education in the world’.
The BBC reported that the figure is actually the spending on all educational institutions, including universities. This figure includes billions of pounds paid by students for their tuition fees.
The UKSA said both sets of figures used by the Government were being investigated. ‘The UK Statistics Authority and the Office for Statistics Regulation are investigating the concerns raised, and will publish their findings shortly,’ a spokesperson said.