Longitudinal Education Outcomes - England

The Longitudinal Education Outcomes (LEO) dataset is a world-leading data product created by the Department for Education (DfE). It contains de-identified information on the characteristics, education, employment, benefits, and earnings of members of the British public. This is a unique source of information, with the potential to provide transformative insight and evidence on the longer-term labour market outcomes and educational pathways of (currently) around 38 million individuals. The purpose of the LEO dataset is to enable the UK to gain transformational insights about pathways within and after education, to enhance the life chances of current and future learners through the enhancement of evidence-based decision making.

Component datasets and linkage

LEO is a relational database comprised of a range of tables and access is restricted on a needs basis. The LEO database includes the National Pupil Database school and early years data, Higher Education Statistics Agency data, Individual Learner Record data for colleges and apprenticeships, and HMRC and DWP data on earnings, benefits and tax data. Further linkages include to UCAS data, Inter-departmental Business Register and Covid-19 furlough data.

Timeframe January 1995 – August 2019
Update Frequency At least annual
Coverage England only
Size ~38 million records
Longitudinal Education Outcomes - England


Introduction to the LEO dataset

Examples of research questions

  • Does attendance at a school with a “Good” Ofsted rating have an impact on a person’s labour market outcomes? 
  • Are pupil referral units (for pupils who have been excluded from school) effective in improving outcomes for young people? 
  • Does being in the care system lead to poorer labour market outcomes after controlling for other demographic and education factors? 
  • Which education factors have a positive impact on labour market outcomes of school leavers with poor attainment?
  • Does coming from a lower socioeconomic background lead to poorer labour market outcomes after controlling for other demographic and education factors? 
  • What is the link between location, labour mobility and education and labour market outcome? At similar education levels, do those who are more mobile have better outcomes?

This list is illustrative only and intended to demonstrate the research potential of the dataset. For research priorities, see the areas of research interest or ADR UK funding opportunity.

Core documentation

Icon representing a user

User guide

The LEO user guide is available to accredited researchers within the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Secure Research Service and the LEO Research Community.

HESA provide information and user guides for Higher Education data on their website.

Icon representing documents

Data dictionary

Information about variables can be found in the LEO variable request form.

Other supporting resources

Resource       Description
Edge Foundation webinar The Edge Foundation published a recording showcasing analyses using the LEO dataset.
ONS guidance and FAQs Guidance & frequently asked questions on how to access the LEO dataset are available from the ONS Secure Research Service.
Stakeholder report ADR UK published a report covering key messages from stakeholders on the research priorities for LEO.
National Pupil Database Information about NPD data.
LEO Library The LEO Research Community supports data preparation and analysis and hosts a growing library of resources and information. To access the LEO Community you will need a Knowledge Hub account and UK Statistics Authority (UKSA) researcher accreditation.

Published research using the data

The LEO Research Community library stores a list of published research. Examples from the broad and largely un-tapped field of potential LEO research include:

Accessing the data

Accredited researchers can apply to access the Longitudinal Education Outcomes (LEO) standard extract via the ONS Secure Research Service.

1. Apply to become an accredited researcher under the Digital Economy Act 2017

2. Apply for an accredited research project 

3. Access the data securely

The options available to access this dataset are:

  • Safe Rooms – based in ONS offices in Titchfield and Newport, open Monday-Friday, 9.00-16.00
  • SafePod Network– a small, self-contained secure room with a single workstation
  • Assured Organisational Connectivity – the ability to access the ONS Secure Research Service from your office. Check what arrangements your institution already has or can put in place.

Dependent on a number of factors, it will typically take approximately 4-8 weeks between an application being submitted and researchers with successful applications having access to their selection of data. See the ONS frequently asked questions for more guidance about accessing the data.

View further details on the ADR UK Data Catalogue and apply for access on the ONS website.

View the LEO dataset Apply for access to the LEO dataset

ADR UK Research Fellowships

ADR UK is funding policy-relevant research using ADR England flagship datasets. Research fellows will address priority research questions, generate insights and demonstrate the value of ADR England data. These datasets are held securely within the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Secure Research Service or other trusted research environments.

Learn more

Download the ADR England Flagship Datasets brochure