Welcome to the latest edition of the GSS Newsletter
- In his latest blog, John Pullinger encourages the GSS to embrace the benefits of Apprenticeships.
- A reminder that the call for abstracts for the 23rd GSS Methodology Symposium is open until 30 April. The Symposium takes place on Wednesday 18 July at the BEIS Conference Centre, London.
- Statistical Officers and Data Scientsts are invited to attend the Career Checkpoint Course. Learning outcomes and dates are available on the GSS website.
- The UK Anonymisation Network (UKAN) are running a user workshop in Manchester on 26 April. The workshop seeks to both critically review the Anonymisation Decision-making Framework and consider how it might be developed further in light of the forthcoming GDPR. Details of the agenda and how to book a place are available on the GSS website.
- Diversity in the Government Analytical Service – for the first time the survey has captured diversity information across all of the analytical professions that make up the Analysis Function.
- GSS presentation regional roadshows will take place at BEIS on 11 April and Welsh Government on 12 April 2018. The roadshow at BEIS will showcase new initiatives and include practical sessions to focus on HOW particular work has been done. Topics will include demonstrations on the use of Power BI and R markdown (by DFT and DIT) to create engaging dashboards and Defra will demonstrate compiling their easy to access, easy to digest evidence compendium using Excel. Welsh Government will host sessions on Improving Communication of Statistics (Welsh Government), Understanding Media Impact (ONS), a demonstration of the new GSS website (GSS Good Practice Team) and an Introduction to Google Analytics (OFSTED). Spaces are limited so book your place at an event today!
This year the GSS conference will be held in Manchester on 2nd and 3rd October.
Attendance is open to data scientists as well as statisticians and we are currently accepting abstracts under our conference theme of ‘Advancement in analytical methodology, supporting transparency and collaboration’.
The 2018 Conference webpage is now live and contains all you need to know. Over the coming months we will be updating the webpage with new information as it becomes available. Keep an eye on our blog page for exciting announcements on our keynote speakers and parallel sessions.
Hope to see you there!
We launched a transformation programme in early 2017 to refresh our statistical releases. The objectives were to make our statistics more engaging, informative and targeted to different types of users.
Ofqual is the regulator of qualifications, examinations and assessments in England. Our statistical releases give a picture of the education landscape in the country. Our users range from the Parliament to public and includes government departments such as the Department for Education and Ofsted, awarding organisations, research bodies, schools and colleges, teachers, parents, learners and media.
Due to reforms in GCSEs and A levels, the content of a number of our publications needed updating. Our transformation programme therefore focused on refreshing both the design and content of the publications.
Read more from Vikas Dhawan, Head of Profession for Statistics at OFQUAL, on how they worked to refresh their statistical releases.
The month of March has seen us carry out more in depth user testing of the new GSS website with colleagues from across the community, including PHE, BEIS, DIT and DFT.
Further work has taken place to enhance the site, so finding out what you need to know about this year’s GSS Conference has (hopefully) never been easier!
To make preparations for the new site, we are now asking ALL GSS colleagues to sign up to a new mailing list to continue receiving the GSS newsletter from the end of April onwards.
We will also be in touch shortly with more details on how you can let us know what you think of the new site, to make sure it works for you before we go live.
For more details on progress and to give us your feedback see the full article.
Julie Stanborough joined ONS on the 6th December to head up a new division called Best Practice and Impact (BPI).
BPI brings together three existing teams into a completely new division and the team is able to shape what it looks like, how it operates and in many ways start from scratch, which is hugely exciting and empowering. The goal is quite simple: supporting the GSS to improve government statistics and the team have identified 7 themes to work against.
The role of BPI is to get out and understand what is going on across the GSS and share what we find more widely with you. It’s about developing and delivering training courses to improve our collective capabilities, and provide a genuine consultancy offer for the GSS.
Julie’s full blog explains more about BPI and how you can contact the teams for support.
ONS International Showcase
Emily Poskett, head of International Development in ONS was involved in supporting the organisation of the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data’s ‘Data for Development Festival’, which recently took place in Bristol.
Emily saw an opportunity to showcase this to a wide audience. Her team put together an exciting ‘field visit’ for 150 of the conference delegates to visit ONS offices in Newport.
The delegates had the opportunity to visit several ‘zones’ , including
- a tour of the Data Science Campus;
- learning about how the UK is tackling the challenge of reporting on the Sustainable Development Goals;
- modernisation of the UK population census;
- the opportunity to learn about how ONS is developing and using new data partnerships with public, private and academic partners to improve UK official statistics;
Emily’s recent blog highlights the challenges and successes of the visit.
Training & Events
- Training update
- Level 5 Qualification in Statistics & Analysis
- Learn Data Science
- European Statistical Training Programme
Statistical Training Short Course Programme 2017-18
- What is it?
- The analytical short courses provide you with an overview of statistical and analytical techniques. This classroom based learning will also strengthen and update your professional skills and knowledge in the main methods used in official statistics. The courses cover a wide range of topics following the whole statistical process from the design stage through to disclosure control and communication of statistics.
- What topics are covered on the course?
- There are two levels to these courses:
Introductory – no prior knowledge is required. The course provides an introduction and understanding of the subject.
Intermediate – advanced level, open to all staff with a good working knowledge of the subject area.
- Full details of each course can be found in the Learning Academy Brochure.
- What does the course cost?
There is no charge for ONS staff, however we will implement our cancellation policy for non-attendance.
The cost to GSS staff wishing to attend classroom based learning is available on Eventbrite.
- How do I apply?
To apply, please book your place and we will send you an application form.
It is with regret that the Learning Academy has experienced some problems in seeking an accrediting body to accredit the course.
The Learning Academy has therefore had to consider alternative learning options for this course, and is keen to share these with you.
Option 1 – Professional Certificate in Practical Statistics (Open University – distance learning)
This course will commence in February 2018 and consists of four modules being studied across 2 years, although this can be extended up to 7 years to fit with your situation. Modules can also be studied individually. Study takes place through distance learning with Tutor support via online and face-to-face tutorials. The four modules covered within this course and their associated costs are:
Introducing Statistics (approx £1500)
Analysing data (approx £1500)
Practical modern statistics (approx £1500)
Linear statistical modelling (approx £1500)
Funding – your Business area/Division will be required to fund your attendance on this course.
Entry to the Statistical Profession – all four modules must be studied and passed if government employees are interested in also joining the Statistical Profession.
More information on this course and how to enrol can be found here
Option 2 – Continued Professional Development – Higher Level course – S3Ri Distance Learning Programme (Southampton University – distance learning)
This course provides the continued delivery of the old RSS Higher modules through Southampton’s Continued Professional Development programme. This delivery is generally catering for those who had not previously finished their studies under the old RSS programme, however will be available for the next 2 years offering an opportunity for new students to join. No accreditation is available with this programme, but we are currently in discussion with Southampton University about whether a Certificate of Successful Completion might be available for each module successfully completed. This will not provide a formal accreditation but will enable you to verify your Level 5 learning to others. We will keep you informed of the progress made with this.
The course is studied via personal study but with access to a Tutor, who will mostly be contactable through email (hence, face-to-face meets are not generally undertaken on this course). There is a total of eight modules available through this course, as follows:
Higher Level course
Module 1- Data collection and interpretation (£175)
Module 2 – Probability models (£175)
Module 3 – Basic statistical methods (£175)
Module 4 – Linear models (£175)
Module 5 – Further probability and inference (£175)
Module 6 – Further applications of statistics (£175)
Module 7 – Time series and index numbers (£175)
Module 8 – Survey sampling and estimation (£175)
Funding – your Business area/Division will be required to fund your attendance on this course.
Entry to the Statistical Profession – six of the above modules must be studied and passed if government employees are also interested in joining the Statistical Profession.
More information on this course can be found here
- A new programme of Data Science Training is now available for all GSS and GSG staff. Courses are available for those who are keen to understand what Data Science is and what this means for us, through to developing coding skills in R or Python. Courses are available via classroom or e-learning options.
- Please see the full programme of training on eventbrite.
- The evolving Learning Academy Data Science learning pathway shows the learning offer from raising awareness through to expert level.
- For further information, please contact the Data Science team at the Learning Academy via:firstname.lastname@example.org
- ESTP deliver a programme of courses providing statisticians the opportunity to participate in international training courses, workshops and seminars at postgraduate level. Please note all applications for these courses should be submitted through the UK ESTP contact point: email@example.com. Further details are available here.
- MSc in Data Analytics for Government
- Growing and building the capability of the workforce across government remains a key role of the ONS Learning Academy and the Data Science Campus. Delivering a Masters level qualification has always been a requirement for professional career development. Working in partnership, the Learning Academy and Data Science Campus have successfully appointed, following a competitive bidding process, University College London, Oxford Brookes University and Southampton University to be part of a Framework to deliver the MSc in Data Analytics for Government.
The application process for the MSc in Data Analytics for Government is now open. Please see the linked information for the courses being provided by Southampton University, Oxford Brookes University and University College London before deciding which MSc course you are most interested in. Our apologies are extended on behalf of the three Universities, as their websites are not currently available – we will update you as soon as these are live.
All applications for MSc in Data Analytics for Government will be made directly to your University of choice. Please use the following contact points and information as your guide:
- Southampton University – For the full MSc and individual module application forms and submissions, please contact Paul Smith
- University College London – For the full MSc and individual module application forms and submissions, please contact either Professor Patrick Wolfe or Sofia Olhede
- Oxford Brookes – Programme Structure. For the full MSc, applications may be submitted online via UKPASS: bz/UKPASS. If you are interested in one of the individual modules, you will need to contact Dr. Rachel Long for the relevant application forms: Tel: 01865 484591; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please ensure that you have discussed the funding for your studies with your line manager and budget holder.
Please note that you must have already attained a numerical degree level course, or a non-numerical degree course with Continuing Professional Development/work experience within a numerical field, before you can apply for the MSc in Data Analytics for Government.
The universities and the programme
There are 4 core modules that should be the same across the 3 providers, but the optional modules can vary. Attached is a list of what each provider is going to deliver.
- Southampton – £9,000
- UCL – £14,000
- Oxford Brookes – £7,200
Southampton will deliver their modules in a block week, whereas UCL and OB will deliver theirs one day per week.
Further MSc routes have also been identified by the ONS Learning Academy to support a broad geographical spread of the workforce. For more information on the range of options available, please contact email@example.com.
A new bidding process is planned for 2018, aimed at expanding the list of MSc providers in the Framework.
- MSc in Official Statistics
- The MSc in Official Statistics was jointly developed by the University of Southampton and the GSS to cover the core skills and knowledge needed by professional government statisticians. The course formed the primary Masters programme for statistical and analytical development across government from 1999 – 2017. The programme has since been replaced by the MSc in Data Analytics, under a Framework agreement.
- Those who are already enrolled onto this programme, will be able to continue with their studies through to completion.
Ideas and contributions on existing or new content are encouraged. Your views are important to us. Please submit your content for the April newsletter by Wednesday 18 April 2018.
The next edition of the newsletter will be published on Wednesday 25 April 2018.
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