Learning & Language

Mapping Learning & Language

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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.

All available maps for the theme Learning & Language

Select a particular date to choose a combination of rate, unit type and date.

Administrative County Local Government District Modern (post 1974) County District/Unitary Authority
Percentage of persons with university degrees or equivalent 1951
1951
1951 - 2001
1951 - 2001
Percentage Unqualified 1951
1951
1951 - 2001
1951 - 2001
Percentage of 5 to 14 year olds attending Sunday School N/A N/A 1851
1851
Percentage of persons entitled to voluntary schooling attending N/A N/A 1851 - 2001
1851 - 2001

Redistricted data on Learning & Language

These notes concern the historical statistics for modern local authorities, which have been created for Vision of Britain by re-districting statistics originally reported for other units. We have also had to deal with variations in the categories and classifications used in statistical reporting over the years.

  • 1851:
  • 1851: The data come from the 1851 Census of Education, which was a separate census of schools carried out at the same time as the Census of Population. We hold full transcriptions of the report for England and Wales (BPP 1852-53 XC [C. 1692], 1-.) and the report for Scotland (BPP 1854 LIX, 247-.), but they were mainly concerned with how schools were funded, not with the pupils. The original data used in redistricting calculations were for Registration Districts in England and Wales, and simply for counties in Scotland, as no separate urban statistics were published even for Edinburgh and Glasgow. 'Voluntary schooling' covers the 'total number of scholars' belonging to all Day Schools, and we separately include total numbers in Sunday Schools. To compute rates we use the total number of persons aged 5 to 14 from the 1851 Census of Population but this can be only a very rough measure of those potentially going to school and eighteen districts have computed rates of Sunday School attendance of over 100%.
  • 1951: The data come from tables 25, 'Occupied Population in 3 age sections by 5 terminal ages', for 'Administrative County, County Boroughs, Urban Areas with 50,000 Population or more and Urban Remainder', and 26, 'Occupied Male Population by 5 terminal ages', for 'Urban Areas of Less than 50,000 and Rural Districts'. They cover the age at which people finished their education, rather than any particular qualifications they obtained, so we assume that those who finished their schooling before age 15 were unqualified, and those who stayed on past 20 had degrees or equivalent. There are no data on voluntary schooling.
  • 1971: The data are computed from the 1971 Small Area Statistics, via the 'Linking Censuses through Time' system. These data are particularly limited, and the only measure which can be calculated is 'graduates', defined as those with degrees or Higher National Certificates, expressed as a percentage of all economically active or retired (table 23, from the 10% sample).
  • 1981: : The data are computed from the 1981 Small Area Statistics, via the 'Linking Censuses through Time' system. 'Graduates' measures the proportion of all persons aged between 18 and retirement age (i.e. 64 for men and 59 for women) who had degrees, professional or vocational qualifications, using data from the 10% sample multiplied by 10 (table 48, expressed as a percentage of all persons aged over 18, combining information from tables 2 and 24). There are no data on the unqualified. 'Voluntary schooling' covers students as a percentage of all residents aged 16-17 in private households (table 24).
  • 1991: The data are computed from the 1991 Small Area Statistics, via the 'Linking Censuses through Time' system. 'Graduates' are all persons aged over 18 with degrees, including higher degrees, taken from table S84 'Qualified manpower (10% sample)' and expressed as a percentage of all residents aged over 18. There are no data on the unqualified. 'Voluntary schooling' covers residents, present or absent, aged 16-17 who were students, expressed as a percentage of all residents aged 16-17 (table S10 'Term-time address: Students (16 and over) present plus absent resident students (16 and over)'). The data have been adjusted to allow for under-enumeration in 1991.
  • 2001: The data are taken from table KS13 'Qualifications and students: Census 2001, Key Statistics for local Authorities'. Unqualified are persons aged 16 - 74 with no qualifications. Graduates are persons aged 16 - 74 with a first degree; higher degree; NVQ levels 4 and 5; HNC; HND; Qualified Teacher Status; Qualified Medical Doctor; Qualified Dentist; Qualified Nurse; Midwife; or Health Visitor. Voluntary schooling is the number of full-time students and schoolchildren aged 16-17 expressed as a percentage of all aged 16-17 (the last figure is taken from table KS02).

These selections from historical census reports are on the theme of Learning & Language.

CensusArea CoveredReport TitleSection Title
Intro Great Britain Guide to Census Reports: Great Britain 1801-1966 Selected Subjects: Education
Intro Great Britain Guide to Census Reports: Great Britain 1801-1966 Selected Subjects: Gaelic Speaking
Intro Great Britain Guide to Census Reports: Great Britain 1801-1966 Selected Subjects: Language spoken in Wales and Monmouthshire
1891 England and Wales General Report Languages in Wales and Monmouthshire
1901 England and Wales General Report, with Appendices Languages in Wales and Monmouthshire
1911 England and Wales General Report with Appendices Language spoken in Wales and Monmouthshire
1911 Scotland Population, Ages and Conjugal Condition, Occupations, Birthplaces, Housing, Gaelic-speaking Gaelic Speakers
1921 England and Wales General Report with Appendices Education
1921 England and Wales General Report with Appendices Welsh Language
1921 Scotland Preliminary Report Gaelic Speaking, National Health Insurance, etc
1951 Scotland Preliminary Report Gaelic-speaking Population