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Part 1 - Annex of indicators

Prosperity Index 2022

Ashfield District rankings

The UK Prosperity Index is an annually populated document, developed by the Legatum Institute. It consists of detailed data on levels of institutional, economic, and social well being across the 374 boroughs, council areas, local government districts, and unitary and local authorities that encompass the four nations of the UK. The Index is specifically designed to be a transformational tool that allows citizens, local authorities, regions, and government to sharpen their understanding of what is working, track their progress over time, and hold leaders to account.

The aim is to see immediately where each district is under-performing, indicating where to focus bids for investment to make improvement in these areas. It also should be used to see where performance is higher (and celebrate its success with communities), and how best practice and collaboration can help the districts that have aspirations to improve.

The UK Prosperity Index 2022 outlines Ashfield's ranking as 257 out of 374 local authority areas in the UK, a 40 place decline from the UK Prosperity Index 2021 ranking (217 out of 374).

Pillar of prosperity


Ashfield District 2022 ranking

(out of 374 UK local authorities)

Safety and security 205 (up from 247 in 2021)
Personal freedom 281 (up from 315 in 2021)
Governance 274 (up from 300 in 2021)
Social capital 257 (up from 260 in 2021)
Investment environment 239 (down from 124 in 2021)
Enterprise conditions 96 (up from 206 in 2021)
Infrastructure 43 (up from 121 in 2021)
Economic quality 229 (up from 296 in 2021)
Living conditions 174 (down from 74 in 2021)
Health 249 (down from 163 in 2021)
Education 328 (down from 310 in 2021)
Natural environment 252 (down from 204 in 2021)

As you can see from the rankings, Ashfield has its areas of strength (e.g. Infrastructure – ranked 43, enterprise conditions - ranked 96, and living conditions - ranked 174), which should be celebrated and best practice should be used to support other districts that are under performing in these areas. However, the ranking within the education pillar for the district is low.

Therefore, there is reason for this plan to be delivered in order to improve education in Ashfield across all sectors (pre-primary education, primary education, secondary education, higher education, further education, and adult education).

Our 10-year Education and Skills Improvement Strategy will drive the need for investment within Ashfield’s education sector, hence improving our rankings on a year by year basis.

East Midlands ranking

UK Prosperity Index 2022

The East Midlands are currently ranked 7th out of 21 regions within the UK, averaged across all pillars of prosperity.

Levels of prosperity differ across the East Midlands. As a whole, the region has good enterprise conditions, living conditions, and social capital, while it is particularly weak in the natural environment, infrastructure, and education. There is a wide variation within the region. Rural local authorities, such as Rutland, are much more prosperous than those in urban or dispersed urban clusters.

Overall, this ranking should be celebrated, especially across pillars where the East Midlands have ranked highly (including enterprise conditions - 1st, and living conditions - 6th).

Ashfield ranking in the East Midlands

Ashfield are ranked 27 out of the 35 districts within the East Midlands region. This plan will support our aspiration to move up the rankings within the East Midlands, on a year by year basis.


Education is a building block for prosperous societies; the accumulation of skills and capabilities contributes to economic growth and education provides the opportunity for individuals to reach their potential, and live more fulfilled and prosperous life. A better educated population also leads to greater civic engagement and improved social outcomes – such as better health and lower crime rates.

East Midlands is ranked 15th out of the 21 regions in the UK, across all stages of education. Only Rutland, Rushcliffe and Broxtowe districts are in the top quartile nationally. Less than, pupils in 40% of low income households pass GCSE English and Maths, which is one of the lowest rates in the UK. Furthermore, adults in this region have low levels of qualifications. The most successful aspect of education in this region is the progression of school leavers to both apprenticeships and further education courses.

Ashfield ranking - Education pillar

In the UK Prosperity Index 2022, Ashfield is ranked 328 out of 374 local authorities within the education pillar, so there is a need for this action plan to help improve education within the district.

Education sector rankings in Ashfield

Areas of focus in the plan will be to improve primary education (ranked 316 out of 374), secondary education (309 out of 374)  and adult skills (ranked 300 out of 374) within the Ashfield district.

Having a 10-year Education and Skills Improvement Strategy will give us a desired focus, which will allow us to work towards our aspiration of being a highly ranked district for education in the region, and assist in improving East Midlands ranking within the UK for education. The plan will also give us the desired focus to improve our local authority ranking for education within the UK.

The full UK Prosperity Index 2022 document, including more information on each pillar of prosperity, is available online:

Education sectors analysis explained:

  • Pre-primary education - 10%

Captures how well early education is attended and the educational outcomes of early childhood education. It supports the development of linguistic, cognitive, social, and emotional skills.

  • Primary education - 30%

Captures the provision and outcomes of primary education in a local authority area, including core literacy and numeracy skills

  • Secondary education - 30%

Captures provision and outcomes of secondary education in a local authority, including core literacy and numeracy skills. Attaining level 2 qualification in English and Maths are an important step in an individual’s educational journey.

  • Tertiary education provision - 10%

Captures the extent to which students from a particular local authority will go onto further education, either through apprenticeship or university.

  • Adult skills - 20%

Captures the level of skills in a local adult population, by measuring the number of adults with different level of qualifications.

Detailed breakdown of industry clusters in Ashfield
(ranked by job count)

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) populate annual surveys to capture how many employees are in each sector within an area. The latest survey was conducted in 2022 for Ashfield.

2022 Ashfield industry cluster table

(By job counts)

Industry Job count Percentage
Human health and social work 14000 24.4%
Wholesale and retail trade, repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles 8000 14%
Manufacturing. 7000 12.2%
Construction 6000 10.5%
Transportation and storage 6000 10.5%
Education 3500 6.1%
Accommodation and food service 3000 5.2%
Administrative and support service activities 2500 4.4%
Professional, scientific, and technical activities 1750 3.1%
Public administration and defence, compulsory social security 1250 2.2%
Information and communication 1250 2.2%
Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply 800 1.4%
Arts, entertainment and recreation 800 1.4%
Other service activities 600 1%
Real estate activities 400 0.7%
Financial and insurance activities 250 0.4%
Water supply, sewerage, waste management and remediation activities 150 0.3%
Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing 50 0.1%
Mining and quarrying 30 0.1%

Ashfield's job count is high in industries such as:

  • Human Health and social work activities - 14,000 employees
  • Wholesale and retail trade, repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles - 8000 employees
  • Manufacturing - 7000 employees
  • Construction - 6000 employees
  • Transportation and storage - 6000 employees
  • Education - 3500 employees
  • Accommodation and food services - 3000 employees
  • Administrative and support service activities - 2500 employees

Post pandemic, these are still high-profile sectors in Ashfield and this plan will ensure that residents have the skills to successfully pursue a career within these industries.

Performance measures to improve during the lifetime of the plan

1) Business start-up rate 

Business start-up rate          2019           2020            2021          2022
United Kingdom          12%           11.1%            12%          11.2%
Ashfield district          11.9%           11.8%            11.5%          11.8%

Source: D2N2 Data Centre

This table shows the rate at which new businesses are being formed in Ashfield district, it is expressed as the ratio of new businesses being created to established businesses. For example, if there were 100 businesses, a rate of 10% a year would mean that there were 10 new businesses created each year.

As the table shows, rates have stayed relatively stable in Ashfield with a decrease of 0.1% between 2019 and 2022. In 2022, the start-up rate in Ashfield was 0.6% higher than that of the UK.

2) Resident qualification level 

Resident qualification level       2018        2019       2020        2021        2022
NVQ1 and above       79.1%        76.8%         85.0%        89.6%        86.5%
NVQ2 and above       59.4%        62.6%       72.4%        77.3%        70.6%
NVQ3 and above       39.2%        43.2%        47.5%         50.6%        50.2%
NVQ4 and above       18.1%        17.0%       21.2%        24.5%        29.9%

Source: NOMIS

This table shows the proportion of Ashfield residents with NVQ qualifications. Someone who has an NVQ4 will also have NVQ 1-3 level qualifications.

Looking at qualifications held by our residents - while we can see some decrease in those with NVQ1 and above, there has been strong growth in both NVQ3 and 4 and above. From 2018 to 2022, the proportion of people with NVQ3 or above grew by 11%, and the proportion with NVQ4 and above grew by 11.1%.

3) Key Stage 4 (KS4) and Key Stage 5 (KS5) destinations 

KS4 destinations          2018           2019          2020           2021
Sustained education          78.9%           80.9%            84.0%          76.9%
Employment           5.9%            5.0%           4.6%           5.3%
Apprenticeships           9.6%            7.1%           5.4%           8.0%


KS5 destinations          2018           2019          2020           2021
Sustained education          37.6%           36.7%            41.4%          41.8%
Employment          26.4%           28.4%          27.2%          26.9%
Apprenticeships          14.2%           16.5%          12.5%          14.9%

Source: Department for Education

This table shows the destination of students in Ashfield finishing KS4 and KS5. This is data that tracks where students go after finishing compulsory education. Where the total of data does not add up to 100% the remaining percentage is those who did not continue to either sustained education, employment, or apprenticeships.

From this data we can see that most of those continuing from KS4 and KS5 continue into education, though this amount is higher at the KS4 Level. In Ashfield, the percentage of 16 to 18-year-olds continuing into either sustained education, employment, and apprenticeships increased from 77.3% to 83.6%. This was because of the growth in those continuing into sustained education, though there has been a small increase in the people continuing to apprenticeships.

4) Participation in FE and training; apprenticeships starts, participation, and completion

Per 100k residents       2018       2019       2020        2021       2022
Participation in FE and training       7219         5759       6767          6595       7101
Apprenticeship starts       1587           1155          1177         1359        1186 
Apprenticeship participation       2954       2770        2628         2752        2734 
Apprenticeship completions        708         605         612         553         587

Source: Department for Education

This table shows that the rate of apprenticeship starts in Ashfield has been gradually growing following a decrease between the 2018 and 2019 figures with the 2022 number being almost the same as the 2018 number.

The table also shows that apprenticeship participation rate has remained fairly static between 2018 and 2022. However, the completion rate has been slowly dropping over a 5 year period from 2018 to 2022.

5) Claimant rate and 50+ claimant rate 

Claimant rate (yearly average)   2018    2019   2020   2021   2022    2023
East Midlands    1.8%    2.3%   4.7%   4.6%   3.3%    3.3%
Ashfield    2.0%     2.7%   5.3%   5.2%   3.9%    3.8%
Average number of claimants (Ashfield)    1588    2099    4214   4087   3067    2994
50+ claimant rate (yearly average)   2018   2019   2020   2021   2022   2023
East Midlands    1.4%    1.8%    3.5%    3.6%    2.5%    2.3%
Ashfield    1.6%      2.0%    3.7%     3.8%    2.7%    2.6% 
Average number of claimants (Ashfield)     404     509    976   1000     725     681

Source: NOMIS

This table show the percentage of people who are working ages (16 to 64) in Ashfield and the East Midlands claiming unemployment benefits, as well as the percentage in the 50+ demographic. The Ashfield rate is consistently higher than the East Midlands in both the total available workers and the 50+ demographic. The growth in this gap was larger in the overall percentage, growing from 0.2% higher in 2018 to 0.5% higher by 2023. The difference in the rate of over 50 claimants between Ashfield and the East Midlands grew from 0.2% in 2018 to 0.3% by 2023.

6) Rate of employment 

Rate of employment      2018     2019      2020      2021       2022      2023
East Midlands      74.7%        76%      76.2%      74.3%        75.2%      75.1%
Ashfield      70.1%      74.5%         78.2%        78.3%       78.9%      67.9%

Source: NOMIS

7) Levels of economic inactivity 

Rate of employment      2018     2019      2020      2021       2022      2023
East Midlands      22.0%     20.5%      20.4%      21.6%       22.4%      22.2%
Ashfield      28.1%     23.2%         20%        18.2%       20.2%       29%

Source: NOMIS

The term ‘economically inactive’ means people who are not in employment and have not looked for work in the last 4 weeks and/or are unable to work in the next 2 weeks. Some examples of economically inactive people are students, people with long-term health issues and retirees. In the table above we can see in the regional figures there is not much change in the percentage of economically inactive, growing by just 0.2% between 2018 and 2023.

In Ashfield, there are bigger changes that are likely because of the Covid-19 pandemic, which are more visible due to Ashfield's size in comparison to the UK. However, overall, we can see in both 2018 and 2023 the rate of economic inactivity in Ashfield was over 6% higher than the national average. Figures in this table are expressed as an average of monthly economic activity figures.

8) Stem vacancies and jobs 

STEM jobs and vacancies     2018     2019      2020      2021     2022     2023
Number of jobs     4256     3881      3912      3921     3980        -
Compared to UK average     -25%     -30%       -28%       -34%     -35%        -
Average monthly STEM vacancies       73       58        61        94      117        138 
Average monthly vacancies      848      691       810      1244     1437     1951

Source: Lightcast

This table shows the number of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and maths) jobs in Ashfield and how this compares to the UK average. It also shows the average number of monthly STEM vacancies being advertised in Ashfield.

The gap in the number of STEM jobs between Ashfield and the UK average has been growing. This seems to be because of a slower recovery from jobs lost because of Covid-19 in Ashfield, as well as there being a skills gap among Ashfield residents. We see that although there is a growth in the average number of vacancies being advertised, there is not a similar growth in the number of employees, suggesting that these jobs are not all being filled.

With the number of STEM jobs in 2022 still less than before the pandemic, only growing by around 100 from 2019 to 2022, and the gap between Ashfield and the UK average growing by 10% it seems that losses from the pandemic have not been recovered in Ashfield. This is consistent with other measures that show one of the main issues facing Ashfield, especially in relation to the clean/green economy, is a skills gap.

Additionally, we can see that despite the increase in the number of post-Covid STEM vacancies, this growth is slower than the growth of the overall monthly vacancies. This suggests that the STEM employment market is growing at a slower rate than the overall Ashfield employment market.

9) Primary and Secondary OFSTED performance

Primaries rating     2018     2019      2020      2021     2022     2023
Inadequate     2.6%     2.6%      2.6%      5.3%     5.3%     0%
Needs Improvement     21.1%      21.1%     21.1%      13.2%     10.5%     5.3%
Good     55.3%     55.3%     55.3%      63.2%     73.7%     81.6%
Outstanding     15.8%     15.8%     15.8%      13.2%     10.5%     5.3%
AVERAGE RATING      2.89      2.89        2.89      2.89       2.86     3.03 

Source: OFSTED

The above table looks at  the OFSTED performance of Ashfield’s primary schools. We can see from 2018 to 2022, there has been an overall improvement in the quality of primary schools that is demonstrated by the rise in the average rating.

In this table each rating has been given a number value, where an Inadequate rating is counted as 1 and an Outstanding rating is counted as 4. Using this scale, we can see the average rating for Ashfield primaries rose above 3 in 2023, making the average score 'Good'. From the individual level breakdown, we can see this has been driven by the increase in the number of schools being rated as good, rather than a growth in the number of outstanding schools.

Between 2018 and 2023, the percentage of Inadequate primary schools fell from 2.6% to 0%, and the share of schools rated 'Needs Improvement' fell from 21.1% to 5.3%. This 5.3% now represents all primary schools not rated good or higher. However, it is worth noting while there has been a large amount of positive movement from Inadequate and Needs Improvement, there has also been a fall in the number of Outstanding schools, falling from 15.8% to 5.3%.

Secondaries and SEND rating     2018     2019      2020      2021     2022     2023
Inadequate      11%      22%      33%      33%      33%      33%
Needs Improvement       0%      11%      11%      11%      11%      11%
Good      78%      56%      56%      56%      56%      56%
Outstanding      11%      11%       0%       0%       0%       0%
AVERAGE RATING     2.89      2.56      2.22      2.22       2.22      2.22

Source: OFSTED

The above table is laid out in the same way as the previous table covering the primary school performance. From 2018 to 2022, the average rating attained by secondary and SEND schools dropped from 2.89 to 2.22, meaning the average rating is 'Needs Improvement'.

This is because of the increase in the percentage of 'Inadequate' and 'Needs Improvement' schools and a decrease in 'Outstanding' and 'Good' schools. Overall, it is a negative trend.