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MiDES Benchmarking

MiDES (Market Intelligence Data Exchange Service) is a sector benchmarking service that has been developed in partnership with RCU. As an AoC member you have full access to the MiDES service, free of charge. With virtually all AoC member colleges using MiDES the benchmark data is very accurate. AoC also uses the data to inform representation work with Government on your behalf. The service is fully compliant with GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018.



  • In-year benchmarking information, allowing your college to see how it compares with other colleges regionally and nationally.
  • Early identification of how local recruitment by level and subject area compares to recruitment across the FE sector and at similar institutions.
  • Early performance data including benchmarks for GCSE maths and English and functional skills.
  • Early detection of areas of low retention, allowing in-year correction measures to be put into place.
  • Data on progression rates at your institution compared to national and regional benchmarks.
  • Analysis of recruitment by deprivation band to help quantify the extent to which your college is meeting the needs of deprived areas.
  • Detailed information on higher education recruitment compared to other colleges and higher education institutions.
  • Improvements to the quality of self-assessment reports due to the ability to compare college in-year performance with the in-year performance of other institutions
  • Early indication of the effectiveness of actions implemented by college leaders and teams
  • The availability of data to support preparation for Ofsted inspections
  • Savings of time as a result of MiDES outputs being in a form that can be readily used by curriculum and quality managers as well as SMT
  • Savings of consultancy fees as a result of not needing to commission external organisations to carry out data and research projects where similar information can be readily obtained from MiDES data

Reports available

You are able to access a series of reports via an easy-to-use interactive website. These free reports include:

  • In-year retention
  • Apprenticeship recruitment
  • Deprivation analysis
  • Progression analysis
  • English and maths
  • Higher education
  • Curriculum analysis

Reports have also been developed for sixth form colleges, for example:

  • All reports allow a user in a sixth form college to compare their results to various comparator groups, including sixth form colleges
  • Separate reports on retention and curriculum have been developed to focus on A level provision.

How to get involved

Each AoC member college can have an unlimited number of registered users, if you need a new login, please email with your college name and job role, a login will be set up for you on the same working day. The MiDES website can be accessed at

Uploading data

Virtually all college’s upload their ILR to the MiDES service. Uploading your college’s data is very simple. There is an upload screen where MI staff can select the relevant ILR data return from a drop-down list and upload it. It takes less than a minute with no additional work or preparation involved. ILR data upload windows for MiDES always follow the ESFA upload deadline. If you want to upload the previous year’s data, you can do this retrospectively too.

RCU supply an anonymiser to remove personal data from the ILR before uploading. Full details of our data security and data protection procedures are available on request.

More information

If you would like to speak to someone about MiDES, please contact Chris Lee at RCU ( or 01772 734855). Webinar demonstrations can be arranged at your convenience to show you the full use of MiDES and other services.