Educational Attainment, 2018

Buckinghamshire’s residents have the highest educational attainment in the country, ranking first among both the 27 county council areas and the 38 Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), with 96.2 per cent of residents holding qualifications at NVQ level 1 or above.

With 48.2 per cent of working age (16-64) residents holding at least degree level qualifications, Buckinghamshire ranks 3rd highest among England’s 27 county council areas and 4th among the 38 LEPs, well above the 39.3 per cent recorded across Great Britain.  There were 12,200 people of working age with no qualifications living in Buckinghamshire in 2018, representing 3.8 per cent of working age residents, the second lowest share among both county council areas and LEPs.

Educational attainment is particularly high in Chiltern, where 63.2 per cent of working age residents hold degree level qualifications, the 8th highest share of all 380 local authority districts in Great Britain, ahead of South Bucks (51.1, 44th), Wycombe (48.2, 60th) and Aylesbury Vale (40.4, 145th).

Table 1: Qualifications held (cumulative), working age (16-64) residents, 2018

Source: Annual Population Survey, ONS 2019

Across Buckinghamshire, 51.5 per cent of employed residents hold degree level attainment, rising to 56.3 per cent of women, while only 2.6 per cent of employed residents hold no qualifications, falling to 1.6 per cent of employed women, well below the 4.8 and 3.9 per cent recorded across the country as a whole.

Educational attainment is higher among women than men, with 52.3 per cent of working age women in Buckinghamshire holding degree level qualifications compared to 44.0 per cent of men.  Buckinghamshire ranks 2nd among the 38 LEPs for the share of working age women holding degree level qualifications, ranking 4th for men.  Similarly, only 2.9 per cent of working age women resident in Buckinghamshire hold no qualifications compared to 4.4 per cent of men, respectively the 2nd and 4th lowest shares among LEPs.

Buckinghamshire’s strength on the cumulative measures is driven by the high share of working age residents with degree level attainment and those qualified to NVQ level 3. 

When considered by NVQ level, a different pattern emerges.  Although 53,145 Buckinghamshire residents have a highest qualification at NVQ level 2, this represents only 16.5 per cent of working age residents, below the national share, ranking 2nd lowest among county councils and 3rd lowest among LEPs, ahead of London and Oxfordshire.  At 11.9 per cent, Buckinghamshire’s share of residents with a highest qualification at NVQ level 1 is the 3rd lowest of any county council area and 6th lowest among the 38 LEPs.  The full results are presented in table 2 and charts 1 and 2 below.

Table 2: Highest qualification held, working age (16-64) residents, 2018

Source: Annual Population Survey, ONS 2019

Buckinghamshire has very high rates of educational attainment across the age ranges among older workers, with particular strength amongst workers aged 50 and over, where the 46.9 per cent of residents holding degree level qualifications ranks 2nd among both county council areas and LEPs (behind Surrey and Enterprise M3 respectively).  For residents aged 16-24 and 25-49, Buckinghamshire ranks 3rd among county council areas and 4th among LEPs.

Table 3: Degree level attainment by age, 2018

Source: Annual Population Survey, ONS, 2019

An overview of NVQ levels can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/what-different-qualification-levels-mean/compare-different-qualification-levels

Chart 1:Qualifications held (cumulative), working age (16-64) residents, 2018 (GB=100)

Source: Annual Population Survey, ONS 2019

Chart 2: Highest qualification held, working age (16-64) residents, 2018 (GB=100)

Source: Annual Population Survey, ONS 2019


Business community ambassadors