ADD286 Commissioned Research: PISA for London

Type of decision: 
Assistant Director's decision
Date signed: 
04 September 2015
Decision by: 
Amanda Coyle, Assistant Director, Health and Communities

Executive summary

Statistical analysis will be undertaken by the Institute of Education to compare the national PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) ranking against analysis for London, separate to that for the rest of the country. PISA rankings are used to assess the aptitude of children at age fifteen across international education systems. 


The Assistant Director of Health and Communities approves expenditure of up to the value of £26,250 for the award of a contract to the Institute of Education for the delivery of a London specific PISA ranking and analysis. 

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

1.1    The ambition for London to compete on a global stage has been central to the vision of the Mayor since the Mayor’s Education Inquiry in 2012, and is stated in all our major strategic documents.

•    “The ambition is to make London state schools amongst the best in the world and ensure that young Londoners can compete successfully for jobs and university places against the talent our city attracts from around the globe.”
Mayor’s 2020 Vision for London

•    “London children must be prepared for life in a global city, and we are not there yet. In 2012, an estimated 15,000 children left London primary schools still struggling with English, maths or both. That means they lacked the skills they need to do well or excel in secondary schools.”

Final report of the Mayor’s Education Inquiry

1.2    In 2014 London learners, London lives; tackling the school places crisis and supporting children to achieve the best they can, produced by the London Assembly Education Panel recommended undertaking PISA analysis and the Mayor indicated the intention to commission a city-level comparator based on research which links PISA test results in London to the National Pupil Database. 

1.3    A procurement exercise was undertaken by TfL Procurement and following evaluation by the panel, the proposal submitted by the Institute of Education was deemed most appropriate and hence the proposed award of contract for the total value of £26,250 is being sought.  This project is funded from the Mayor’s Annual Conference 2015-16 budget, specifically via savings made this year by reducing the printing costs for the annual report which will be utilised for this project.

Objectives and expected outcomes

2.1    The overarching aim is to provide an estimate of London’s overall position within PISA rankings. The Institute of Education will undertake research and analysis using the PISA and national pupil database to extrapolate to a London wide position. They will produce a written report, methodology statement and present the findings to stakeholders. 

Other considerations

a)    key risks and issues 

3.1    Initial investigation of the data-set will be required as a preliminary activity to establish that the PISA data set is representative of London. This however is low-risk, as PISA school selection is undertaken to ensure school selected are a representative sample. 

Financial comments

4.1    The contract costs of £26,250 will be funded from the Education & Youth Budget for 2015-16, specifically from savings accruing from Mayor’s Annual Education Conference element of the budget. Any changes to this proposal, including budgetary implications will be subject to further approval via the Authority’s decision-making process. All appropriate budget adjustments will be made. 

4.2    The Education & Youth Team within the Communities & Intelligence Directorate will be responsible for managing this contract and ensuring that all expenditure complies with the Authority’s Financial Regulations, Contracts & Funding Code and Expenses & Benefits Framework. 

Planned delivery approach and next steps



Procurement of contract

June 2015

Initial data investigation

August 2015

Analysis completed

November 2015

Report published

December 2015

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