Longitudinal Education Outcomes for Northern Ireland - a data linkage initiative

The Longitudinal Education Outcomes (LEO) database enables research about career paths of individuals from school to work.

Longitudinal Education Outcomes Database for Northern Ireland

Department for the Economy (DfE) Analytical Services Division is working with the Administrative Data Research Northern Ireland (ADR NI)[1] team within the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) and with Department of Education (DE) to develop a Longitudinal Education Outcomes database for Northern Ireland (LEO NI). 

The LEO NI will be a linked, de-identified database comprising post primary schools’ data from DE and apprenticeships, further and higher education data from DfE. Later phases of the project will involve linking employment and earnings data and benefits data.

The LEO NI database will enable research about career paths of individuals from post primary education into training, further and higher education and into the labour market.

LEO Study in Great Britain

The Longitudinal Education Outcomes Study was formally established in Great Britain in 2015, giving England, Scotland and Wales the ability to track the career paths of individuals from school to work. However, the legislation which underpins the data shares in Great Britain is not in effect in Northern Ireland.

Further information, including statistical releases, are available from the Department for Education (England)Welsh Government and Scottish Government.

LEO NI Progress

April 2023: Education Outcomes Linkage (EOL) 2018/19 available for research

The EOL 2018/19 is a longitudinal education database of post primary schools’ data for pupils (aged 14-18) in NI. It is the first stage of the development of LEO NI. The EOL links together a number of datasets held by DE; the Schools Census (including Attendance data), School Leavers Survey and Exams Database.

Data is available for pupils who are present in the 2018/19 School Census and who also have an exam outcome in the 2018/19 academic year (EOL Core Members). The EOL 2018/19 contains the following data for EOL Core Members:

  • School Census 2018/19 and 2015/16-2017/18 (where available)
  • School Attendance 2015/16-2018/19 (where available)
  • School Leavers Survey 2018/19 (where applicable)
  • Exams Database up to and including 2018/19

Access to the EOL dataset is limited to researchers with accredited researcher status under the Digital Economy Act 2017 (DEA) and subject to approval by the data providers and the UK Statistics Authority Research Accreditation Panel (RAP).

Examples of projects with RAP approval are:

  • Post-primary school size and educational outcomes in Northern Ireland
  • Social inequalities in education outcomes in Northern Ireland

Information on the data sources that contribute to the EOL, a description of variables and how researchers can access the data is available in the EOL Guidance for Researchers document.

February 2024: LEO Project Board established

Following the release of the EOL 2018/19, work commenced on the next phase to link apprenticeships, further and higher education data.

The newly established LEO Project Board, with representation from NISRA, DE and DfE, held its first meeting on 21 February 2024.

Further updates will be provided when available.

Public engagement

Public engagement events will take place as the project progresses. Details will be made available via the DfE website.

Contact us

We welcome the views of the public on this project. If you have any comments or wish to make further enquiries, please contact us at analyticalservices@economy-ni.gov.uk.  


ADR NI is part of the ESRC funded ADR UK initiative; further details are available at ADR UK

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