§ The Minister for Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education (Alan Johnson)
In November 2002 my predecessor, my right hon. Friend the Member for Barking (Margaret Hodge), commissioned a quality review of the Initial Entry Rate (IER) statistic. The review, which was carried out independently in accordance with guidelines published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), was designed to ensure that the IER statistic was rigorous and transparent.
The findings of the review were published on 17 November 2003. The main recommendations were that:The IER statistic should measure initial participation rather than initial entry and as such should be renamed the "Higher Education Initial Participation Rate" (HEIPR).Only those students who attend their course for at least six months will count toward the HEIPR.The HEIPR should be published to the nearest whole number.
The most recent data available for these measurements are for the academic year 2001–02. The IER figure for 2001–02 was 43.5 per cent. When the recommendations of the quality review are taken into account, the new HEIPR figure for 2001–02 is 43.9 per cent. or 44 per cent. when rounded. Figures for 2002–03 will be produced when data become available.
The full report is available via the ONS website and a copy has been placed in the House of Commons Library.