Dear Amanda, 

GRading and Admissions Dataset for England (GRADE)

I am writing to thank you for the leadership that you and Ofsted staff provided to make the GRading and Admissions Dataset for England (GRADE) available to support research on the education, assessment and admissions systems. 

I understand that the GRADE project was instigated during your time as Chair of the Ofqual Recovery Committee and that you seconded staff from Ofsted to provide support and leadership, including your Chief Statistician Jason Bradbury as the project lead and Philip Noden who undertook analysis and authored initial research reports. 

As the regulator for statistics, we have been championing collaboration across organisations to enable data linkage to answer key questions about society and have been advocating for greater access to data for researchers. We believe that data sharing and data linking, with appropriate safeguards, are important to ensure that statistics serve the public good. It is a UK Statistics Authority strategic priority to make greater data available in a secure way for research and evaluation. 

Thank you for recognising the huge benefits that could be provided through the linking and sharing of data from Ofqual, the Department for Education and UCAS to enable an understanding of the awarding of grades in 2020, and insights to be gained on the impact on further education, higher education and employment and from the functioning of the system both in 2020 and in years when exams are available. 

I have also written to Dr Jo Saxton, Chief Regulator at Ofqual, and the other organisations involved in making the data available, to congratulate you all on the collaboration that led to the successful deposit of GRADE data in the Office for National Statistics’ Secure Research Service.  

Yours sincerely  

Ed Humpherson
Director General for Regulation