External returns and data standards

The University has a responsibility to provide student data to various external bodies. These include the Office for Students (OfS), Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), Education and Skills Funding Agency (EFSA), and the Department for Education and Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA).

The External Returns and Data Standards team manages all University data and submits relevant information to these bodies.

We break the work we do into into 2 key areas:

  1. External returns — we validate and submit all student-related statutory returns to external bodies.
  2. Data standards — we make sure all the external returns data the University manages is accurate, up to date, and meets the expectations of our staff and the external bodies we work with.

Data we submit

These are some of the examples of the data we submit to external bodies:

  • Higher Education Students Early Statistics survey — this gives an early indication of actual and forecasted student numbers for the next academic year
  • Student Record — this has information about all our registered students on courses that lead to the award of a qualification or provider credit
  • Initial Teacher Training in-year record — this includes students registered on our courses leading to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) and Early Years Teacher Status (EYTS)
  • Provider Profile — this shows how our teaching in academic subject areas is divided across our departments and faculties
  • Unistats — this provides information on the undergraduate courses we advertise to help prospective students to make a decision about what to study and where
  • Aggregate Offshore Record — this reports overall student numbers by country, level of study, and type of study for our students who are studying their course entirely overseas.
  • Individual Learner Record — this tells the ESFA which of our students are doing degree apprenticeships
  • Transparency Return — this reports information about how many applications we've received, how many offers of places we made, and how many of those were accepted (available below)

Transparency Return 2019/20

Office for Students Transparency Return

We are committed to providing clear information to potential applicants to assist them in deciding which course to study. This Transparency Return provides insights into our application and admissions processes and degrees awarded.

It focuses on applicants' socioeconomic backgrounds and the characteristics they have that are protected under the Equality Act 2010 (such as age, race and sex).

We will publish this every year from 2019 onwards, as required by the Office for Students. It includes information on:

  • The number of applications we have received for admission to undergraduate higher education courses from UK applicants;
  • The number of offers we have made in relation to those applications;
  • The number of offers accepted and the number of students who have registered with us;
  • The number of students who registered and went on to complete their course with us;
  • The number of students who attained a degree or other academic award, or a particular level of an award, when they completed their course.

We then partition and analyse the data by:

  • gender
  • ethnicity
  • socioeconomic background (using Index of Multiple Deprivation or IMD)

It is important to note that the data presented has not been contextualised. This means, for example, that you will not be able to see from these data how many of those applying to courses met the entry criteria. It is also the case that universities and colleges will often receive many more applications than they have spaces on courses and number of offers will necessarily be lower than application numbers in those circumstances.

Contextual information about the University of Portsmouth

Portsmouth is a large University with over 16,000 Home/EU full-time undergraduate students in 2018/19 and 25,000 students overall. Portsmouth is home to over 4,500 international and EU students from around 150 countries. The University’s mission states that ‘We delight in creating, sharing and applying knowledge to make a difference to individuals and society’. We are proud of our longstanding success in widening access to HE and we work in partnership with our students to provide transformational, high-quality educational experiences. Our gold rating in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) 2017 confirms our success in this.

Thanks to our active aspiration raising and outreach programme, supported by £3.5 million investment each year in student bursaries and financial support, we are successful in widening access into higher education. The proportion of Portsmouth students undergraduates from more deprived neighbourhoods (IMD Q1) has increased over the last five years and is higher than proportion of the population living in IMD Q1 neighbourhoods. Similarly, we have a higher proportion of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) students than the average in our region.

In common with most English Universities, there is a gap between the proportion of our BAME and white students achieving a 1st or 2.1 class degree. We have been piloting ways to address this through two OfS supported projects. Our Access and Participation Plan, developed in partnership with our students, sets out our plans to make attainment gaps a thing of the past.

Table 1a: Summary of applications, offers, acceptances and registrations for 2018-19 entrants


Number of applications Percentage of applications that received an offer Percentage of applications that accepted an offer Percentage of applications that led to a registration
Full Time Ethnicity BAME 6710 81.6% 24.6% 22.5%
White 17020 89.1% 24.8% 21.9%
EIMD quintile 1 and 2 7190 84.9% 27.3% 24.7%
3 to 5 15940 87.8% 24.0% 21.5%
Gender Female 12230 85.2% 22.9% 20.4%
Male 11730 88.6% 26.7% 24.0%
Other N N N N
Part Time Ethnicity BAME 160 72% 63% 56%
White 790 84% 78% 69%
EIMD quintile 1 and 2 310 73% 66% 56%
3 to 5 570 85% 78% 69%
Gender Female 550 80% 75% 67%
Male 420 85% 76% 66%
Other N N N N
Apprenticeships Ethnicity BAME N N N N
White 110 87% 84% 81%
EIMD quintile 1 and 2 40 75% 70% 65%
3 to 5 90 85% 85% 80%
Gender Female 30 90% 90% 90%
Male 100 80% 80% 75%
Other N N N N


Table 2a: Percentage of first degrees at grade 2:1 or above by characteristic for 2017-18 qualifiers


Ethnicity BAME 64%
White 83%
EIMD quintile 1 and 2 70.9%
3 to 5 81.3%
Gender Female 80.5%
Male 76.5%
Other N

Full report

If you're interested in finding more information about our Transparency Return, you can download our full University of Portsmouth Transparency Return 2019.

You can read the University’s Access and Participation Plan 2019/20.

Abbreviations used in transparency report


BAME Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Groups
EIMD quintile English Index of Multiple Deprivation with Quintile 1 & 2 as most deprived and 3, 4 and 5 as least deprived




N/A Not applicable as no qualifiers at this mode and level
N 24 or fewer students in the population
DP Data suppressed for data protection reasons 

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