Academic year 2022/23

Further education and skills

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See all updates (2) for Academic year 2022/23
  1. Updated to clarify wording around interactive data visualisation tool

  2. Updated to add links to the interactive data visualisation tool

Introduction

This release presents provisional in-year data on adult (19+) further education (FE) and skills in England for the first quarter of the 2022/23 academic year (August to October 2022). This includes apprenticeships and traineeships in the overall FE and skills numbers, but for statistics relevant to apprenticeships and traineeships please see the ‘Apprenticeships and traineeships release’. 

Changes to the structure of the release

We have changed the structure of the release to improve user access to content and to allow for easier maintenance. The same amount of data is still being published on a quarterly basis. If you wish to provide feedback on these changes please contact us at FE.OFFICIALSTATISTICS@education.gov.uk

Impact of COVID-19 on reporting of FE and apprenticeship data

Historic data in this release covers periods affected by varying COVID-19 restrictions, which will have impacted on FE provision and also provider reporting behaviour via the Individualised Learner Record. Therefore, extra care should be taken in comparing and interpreting data presented in this release.

Please note that the ‘Explore data and files’ section contains the underlying files that underpin this release and allows expert users to interrogate and analyse the data for themselves. For pre-populated summary statistics please see the relevant section underneath, from which the data can be further explored using the ‘Explore data’ functionality. You can also view featured tables or create your own table using the ‘create tables' functionality.


Headline facts and figures - 2022/23

Of the 1,056,500 adult (19+) government-funded further education and skills learners participating in 2022/23:

  • Females account for 58.7% (619,740).
  • Higher level (level 4 or above) participation increased by 10.6%, to 204,220 from 184,610 in 2021/22.
  • Learners recorded as having a Learning difficulty/disability (LLDD) account for 18.0% of the cohort (184,140) an increase of 10.6% from 166,550 in 2021/22.

Explore data and files

All data used in this release is available as open data for download


Open data

Browse and download individual open data files from this release in our data catalogue


Guidance

Learn more about the data files used in this release using our online guidance


Create your own tables

You can view featured tables that we have built for you, or create your own tables from the open data using our table tool


All supporting files

All supporting files from this release are listed for individual download below:

List of all supporting files

About these statistics

This statistical release presents provisional information on adult (19+) FE and skills participation and achievements in England for the first quarter of the 2022/23 academic year (covering August to October 2022).

The data includes Apprenticeships, Community Learning, and Education and Training provision taken at General Further Education Colleges (including Tertiary), Sixth Form Colleges, Special Colleges (Agricultural and Horticultural Colleges, and Art and Design Colleges), Specialist Colleges and External Institutions.

A separate release covers apprenticeships and traineeships data, please see ‘Apprenticeships and traineeships release’, but note that apprenticeships and traineeships are included in the overall FE and skills numbers in this release.

Individualised Learner Record (ILR) administrative data

The ILR is an administrative data collection system designed primarily for operational use in order to fund training providers for learners in FE and on apprenticeship programmes. We publish a high volume of FE statistics using provisional, in year data and use latest data as soon as available despite not being ‘final’. This enables us to provide the earliest picture of FE performance and allows users to assess the impact of government-funded provision and hold the ‘system’ to account.

The FE and skills data in this release are based on the fourth ILR data return from FE and apprenticeship providers for the 2022/23 academic year, which was taken in December 2022.

National achievement rate tables data

Figures in the ‘national achievement rate tables’ section are as published in March 2022. These official statistics cover achievement rates for the 2020/21 academic year and would have been previously released as part of the standalone National achievement rate tables publication. As confirmed in our guidance, due to Coronavirus (COVID-19), we have not published institution-level qualification achievement rates (QARs) in the national achievement rate tables for the 2019/20 or 2020/21 academic years. We have published high level summaries of QARs for statistical purposes. 

Achievement rates covering the 2021/22 academic year are planned to be published as part of our March 2023 statistics update.

Provider reporting during the COVID-19 pandemic

Historic data in this publication covers periods affected by varying COVID-19 restrictions which will have impacted on further education including apprenticeship learning. Therefore, extra care should be taken in comparing and interpreting data presented in this release. It is likely to have impacted on provider behaviour in terms of the reporting of FE and apprenticeship learning during the affected period, and this could vary by provider.

How to find data and supplementary tables in this release

The Further education and skills publication still provides the same range of data it always did, but has undergone some structural changes since the previous publication in order to improve user’s experience. 

We have also adopted a new naming convention for files to help users find their data of interest. We have not changed the content of these files except in a few cases where we have merged some smaller files. You can find a look-up of the old and new file names in the file called “New Release Layout - Names Lookup” that can be found by clicking 'Explore data and files' and opening the ‘all supporting files’ section.

This section serves to signpost users to the data most relevant to their uses by detailing the routes through which it can be accessed. 

The content of the publication below contains charts and tables which highlight key figures and trends that give an overview of the national picture of the further education landscape.

'Featured tables' provide further detail with figures broken down by common areas of interest. These can be found by expanding the 'Explore data and files' accordion and clicking 'Create tables'. These tables are created to provide the next level of detail one might wish to find below the level of detail provided by tables embedded within the release.  They also provide the user the opportunity to then amend content, reorder and take away to meet their needs.  Within the release we list out the most relevant featured tables at the end of each commentary section.

In addition to featured tables you can also access underlying data files and build your own tables using the table builder tool. For example, the featured table showing enrolments by provider is produced from an underlying data file which also contains detail on the level of an aim, and it's sector subject area.

The list of files available can be accessed by expanding the 'Explore data and files' accordion and clicking either ‘browse data files’ or 'Create tables', then switching to the 'Create your own table' tab and selecting your file of interest.

Alternatively you can modify and existing featured table by selecting it and then depending on the breakdowns available, edit the location, time periods, indicators and/or filters (Steps 3, 4 and 5).

There is a dashboard that provides interactive presentation of our published data, with a number of different views on to data and ‘drilldown’ capability to allow users to investigate different types of FE provision.  It is particularly helpful in viewing data across different geographical areas and providers.

This release also provides ‘all supporting files’ which can be found at the end of the 'Explore data and files' accordion. These are mainly csv files which can be downloaded, and provide some additional breakdowns including unrounded data.  They are provided for transparency to enable analysts to re-use the data in this release. A metadata document is available in the same location which explains the content of these supporting files.

All of the data available in this release can be downloaded using the 'Download all data (zip)' button at the top right of this page.

Feedback

This release is a structural change to how we publish our data and statistics, which we continually look to improve. As a result, your feedback is important to help us further improve and develop. To provide feedback on this release, please email us at FE.OFFICIALSTATISTICS@education.gov.uk

Full year Further Education and Skills data

The figures in this section cover adult (19+) further education and skills and relate to full-year final data up to and including the 2021/22 academic year, originally published in November 2022. This is a summary of all adult further education activity including Apprenticeships, Community Learning, and Education and Training provision

Type of further education

Adult participation in further education and skills has declined considerably in the last decade. 1.7 million adults participated in 2021/22 compared to nearly 3.3 million at the most recent peak in 2012/13 – a fall of nearly a half. Education and training, the largest component of FE & Skills participation, has declined at a similar rate over the same period from 1.8 million to just under 0.9 million.

Participation in community learning has seen a steady fall in most years. During the years affected by the pandemic, numbers dropped at a faster rate in 2019/20 and 2020/21, with some recovery seen in 2021/22.

In 2021/22, participation in all strands was up slightly on the previous years.

 

Further education and skills participation has changed over the years and has included different types of provision, including Apprenticeships, Community Learning, and Education and Training. Some provision and data sources are now more historical in nature such Workplace Learning (which had around 455,000 adults participating in 2011/12, dropping to 59,000 in the last year of reporting in 2015/16) and that relating to the Apprenticeship Grant for Employers, as well as data relating to pilots such as the Employer Ownership Pilots. 

Additionally, learners can participate at more than one level in different types of learning during an academic year and also on different types of provision, therefore it is not possible to sum individual levels or strands to obtain the overall total. For more detail on how we count different measures please see the Further education and skills statistics: methodology

Of the 1,719,600 adult learners participating in 2021/22: 

  • The number on below Level 2 courses (excluding Basic skills) was 278,800.
  • The number on a Basic skills course was 434,100.
  • The number on Level 2 courses was 551,100 (on Full Level 2, there were 139,400 learners) and on Level 3 there were 391,900 learners (on Full Level 3, there were 322,400 learners).
  • The number on Level 4 or above courses was 245,100.

Demographics

Three-in-five learners participating in FE & Skills were female in 2021/22 (61.0%). This share has gradually increased from 58.1% in 2017/18. 

Over the same period, the proportion of learners aged 50 and above has reduced from 20.1% to 16.4%.

The proportion of learners declaring a learning difficulty or disability has remained relatively stable. 

Ethnicity

The proportion of learners participating in FE & Skills who are white has declined in recent years. 73.8% of learners were white in 2021/22 compared to 77.5% in 2017/18. Over the same period:

  • Asian learners increased from 9.4% to 10.5%
  • Black learners increased from 7.3% to 7.9%
  • Learners from mixed/multiple ethnic groups increased from 2.8% to 3.6% and 
  • Learners from other ethnic minorities (excluding white minorities) increased from 2.9% to 4.2%

Additional featured tables

The following tables offer more detailed breakdowns and combinations of characteristics and are available in our table builder tool :

Further education and skills learner characteristics by detailed learning disability
Further education and skills learner characteristics by Sex and ethnicity group
Further education and skills learner characteristics by IMD quintile

Participation per 100,000 of population 2022/23 only. Includes region, local authority district, and English devolved areas

Basic skills geographical breakdowns
Basic skills subject and level participation and achievements

AEB - Adult education budget full year comparisons

Full year Education and Training data

The figures in this section cover adult (19+) education and training and relate to full-year final data up to and including the 2021/22 academic year, originally published in November 2022.

Subject and Level

Adult participation in Education and training increased by 1.0% to 878,520, compared to 2020/21 but has fallen by 22.4% since 2017/18. Achievements have increased in each of the last two academic years to 682,510 in 2021/22 but remain 24% below 2017/18 achievements.

Level 2 courses were the most popular (431,860 learners participating), followed by basic skills (270,630). 

Out of 1,691,340 education and training learning aim enrolments in 2021/22:

  • Science, technology engineering and maths (STEM) subjects represent 14.5% - an increase from 13.8% in 2020/21 and 12.0% in 2019/20.
  • Preparation for life and work was the sector subject area with the most enrolments (770,140), followed by health, public services and care (297,840).
  • Entry and Level 1 courses together make up 52.4% of enrolments – 886,990 enrolments in total. The majority of these are in preparation for life (72.3%).
  • Level 2 courses account for 34.6% overall (585,040) – just over a third of which are in health, public services and care (200,540).
  • At Level 4 or above, the largest proportion of enrolments are in health, public services and care (42.1%) followed by business, administration and law (21.4%).

Demographics

Of the 878,520 learners participating in adult education and training

  • Females account for 64.3% (564,550). The rate of female participation in 2017/18 was considerably lower at 55.7%.
  • Learners aged 19-24, 25-49, and 50 and over accounted for 20.9% (183,780), 62.9% (552,890) and 16.1% (141,850) respectively.
  • Those declaring a learner learning difficulty and/or disability (LLDD) account for 20.5% (175,060).
  • The proportion of White learners dropped to 65.3% from 68.8% in the previous year. All the major ethnic minority groups (excluding white minorities) increased their proportion of education and training participants compared to 2020/21.

Region

The North East consistently has the highest rates of education and training participation among adults when population size is taken into account and the South East the lowest.

Advanced Learner Loans

Of the 65,800 learners participating with an advanced learner loan in 2021/22:

  • Most of the learners were at Level 3 (57,300).
  • Of those at Level 3, the highest participation was from the 31-40 age group (17,700) followed by the 24-30 age group (15,900).
  • Level 4 or above participation was 9,000.

Additional featured tables

The following tables offer more detailed breakdowns and combinations of characteristics and are available in our table builder tool :

Education and training learner characteristics by ethnicity
Education and training learner characteristics by IMD quintile
Education and training learner characteristics by LLDD
Education and training learner participation and achievement by age

Education and training geographical breakdowns

Education and training provider breakdowns
Education and training provider type achievements

Education and training provider aims enrolments
Education and training subject aims enrolments

Advanced learner loans applications

Full year Community Learning data

The figures in this section cover community learning and relate to full-year final data up to and including the 2021/22 academic year, originally published in November 2022.

Provision / Type

Community learning participation increased by 24.9% to 304,400 in 2021/22, compared to the same period in 2020/21. This followed a period of continual decline since 2012/13 when the number participating was 684,700.

Demographics

Proportionally more learners from ethnic minority groups (excluding white minorities) are participating in community learning compared to previous years.

In 2021/22:

  • Asian/Asian British backgrounds account for 12.8% of participating learners – up from 11.0% in 2018/19
  • Black learners account for 7.1% – up from 5.9%
  • Learners from mixed/multiple ethnic groups account for 3.2%– up from 2.4%
  • Other non-white learners account for 5.5% – up from 3.8%
  • White learners account for 71.3% - down from 76.9%

Additional featured tables

The following tables offer more detailed breakdowns and combinations of characteristics and are available in our  table builder tool :

Community learning learner characteristics by LLDD
Community learning learner characteristics by sex and ethnicity
Community learning learner characteristics in year comparisons

Community learning geographical breakdowns

Community learning provider breakdowns

Latest in year data

The figures in this section cover adult (19+) further education and skills in the first quarter of the 2022/23 academic year and show corresponding data at the same time point for the previous 2 years.

Level 3 Free Courses for Jobs

As part of the government’s Plan for Jobs, certain adults can now access free level 3 courses as part of the Free Courses for Jobs offer.

From April 2021, people have been able to access one of the free level 3 qualifications if they are aged 19 or over and do not already have a level 3 qualification (equivalent to an advanced technical certificate or diploma, or A levels) or higher. Previously, learners aged 24 or over, would have had to pay the course fee for these qualifications, normally through an Advanced Learner Loan. 

From April 2022, the offer was extended to adults in England who are earning under the National Living Wage (£18,525 per annum) or are unemployed, regardless of whether they have a full Level 3 qualification or higher.

Figures reported up to the first quarter of the 2022/23 academic year show that;

  • The cumulative number of enrolments on the offer, reported between April 2021 and October 2022, stands at 35,140 (with 4,780 having started in the 2020/21 academic year, 19,700 in 2021/22 and 10,670 reported so far for the first three months of 2022/23). This includes those taking up free courses for jobs under the extended offer from April 2022.
  • The number of enrolments based on the eligibility criteria before it was extended (i.e. excluding those already holding full level 3 qualifications) stands at 32,230. This is 82% higher than equivalent enrolments for the same months in 2018/19, by adults who would have been able to access the offer before eligibility was extended. 

Level 3 qualifications can take longer than a year to be completed and for learners to receive achievement status – especially if, for example, learners are balancing study with employment. We estimate that there have been 12,010 achievements by learners enrolled and funded through Free Courses for Jobs since April 2021.

Additional featured tables

The following tables offer more detailed breakdowns and combinations of characteristics and are available in our table builder tool :

Further education and skills in year comparisons by provider type
Further education and skills in year comparisons by region
Further education and skills in year comparisons by sector

AEB - Adult education budget in year comparisons

Education and training provider type in year comparisons

Community learning learner characteristics in year comparisons

Free courses for jobs - cumulative enrolments and achievements by subject ands sex

Interactive data visualisation tool

A data visualisation tool has been developed to complement the apprenticeship and traineeship release in EES. 

This approach offers users a more visual, interactive presentation of our published data, with a number of different views on to data and ‘drilldown’ capability to allow users to investigate different types of FE provision within different geographical areas and across providers.

National achievement rate tables

Data in this section refers to 2020/21 and was first published in March 2022. Data for 2021/22 is planned to be released in March 2023.

In March 2020, the Secretary of State announced that the summer 2020 exam series in England would be cancelled to help fight the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19). This announcement also stated that Government would not publish any school, college, or provider-level educational performance data based on tests, assessments or exams for the 2019/20 academic year.

In 2020/21, as a consequence of the ongoing disruption to the assessment process, the Government announced a change to its accountability arrangements published here where it states providers will not be held to account on the basis of exams and assessment data from summer 2020. Given the continued disruption, in February 2021, it was confirmed that no provider-level data would again be published for the 2020/21 academic year. This release will therefore not contain any provider level data.

For performance management purposes users should refer to data from 2018/19 which can be found here.

Apprenticeship achievement rate statistics are available here.

Headline facts and figures

Overall achievement rates within the 19+ Education and Training cohort have decreased from 86.0% in 2019 to 2020 to 85.5% in 2020 to 2021, a decrease of 0.5 percentage points. Compared with 2018 to 2019 they are down by 3.7 percentage points.

Level one and higher level rates have increased since last year by 0.6 and 5.1 percentage points respectively. Rates at level 2 have decreased by 2.0 percentage points whilst level 3 has decreased by 1.0 percentage point.

Things you need to know about this release

Care should be taken when comparing outcomes with previous years. 

The purpose of releasing national level achievement rate data for 2020/21 is to maintain the continuity of information and to provide context alongside the achievement volumes found elsewhere in this publication. It is important to maintain transparency by presenting the national level data for this cohort of learners whilst recognising the extraordinary circumstances surrounding 2019/20 and 2020/21 achievement rates.

Care should be taken when comparing with previous years due to the effects of the pandemic such as disruption to exams and assessments. 

Additionally, the methodology for creating achievement rates has been partially affected in two ways. Firstly, the announcement that Government will not publish any provider-level educational performance data for the 2019/20 or 2020/21 academic years. Therefore, we did not share any provider level data with providers for 2019/20 which normally helps them to improve the quality of their final data return. Secondly, this limited the fuller quality assurance processes including working closely with providers on anomalies in their data. Whilst we were able to re-introduce the fuller quality assurance process for the 2020/21 data, we are aware that providers were still affected by disruption due to the COVID pandemic.

 

Different sectors have been affected in different ways and as a result, care should be taken when comparing data with previous years.

19+ Education and Training overall achievement rates by qualification type and level

Significant change in the way some assessments happened in 2019/20, and to a lesser extent in 2020/21, compared to previous years. Additionally, a significant change in some qualifications with the size of the cohort participating. As a result, care should be taken when comparing 2019/20 and 2020/21 data with previous years.

 

19+ Education and Training overall achievement rates by sector subject area

Significant change in the way some assessments happened in 2019/20, and to a lesser extent in 2020/21, compared to previous years. Additionally, a significant change in some qualifications with the size of the cohort participating. Different sectors have been affected in different ways and as a result care should be taken when comparing 2019/20 data with previous years.

 

Overall achievement rates by ethnicity

The figures in this section cover the achievement rates for those learners who are from minority ethnic groups. Please note the figures for “White ethnic groups” includes white minorities.

 2018/192019/202020/21
Minority ethnic groups excluding white minorities88.2%84.7%84.8%
White88.9%87.1%86.4%

In 2020/21, learners aged 19+ from minority ethnic groups had an overall education and training achievement rate of 84.8%, an increase of 0.1 percentage points from 84.7% in 2019/20.

The number of learners from minority ethnic groups was 499,790 which represents 36.7% of all learners. The take up of education and training for learners from minority ethnic groups varies according to the sector subject area. The sector with the highest proportion of learners from minority ethnic groups was Preparation for Life and Work where 50.9% of learners were from minority ethnic groups. The sector with the lowest proportion was Agriculture, Horticulture and Animal Care at 10.6%.

 

Methodology

Qualification Achievement Rates (QARs), previously referred to as qualification success rates, are calculated for individual qualifications, or programmes for apprenticeships. They show how many learners that started a qualification or programme went on to successfully complete it. Achievement rates are typically calculated at a qualification or programme level, but can be aggregated across different types of course, or for particular colleges or providers.

Technical specifications for how achievement rates are calculated can be found here: 

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/qualification-achievement-rates-and-minimum-standards

Further information on how the performance management process works can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/funding-allocations-and-performance-management-for-providers

 

Changes for the 2020/21 reporting year

At the start of each academic year, the business rules by which QARs will be calculated for that year are published. The full set of user guide, business rules, and the technical specifications behind the 2020/21 calculations are also available here. We publish detailed tables to provide transparency on the measures we use for provider performance for the latest year only. These data will not always be calculated on the same basis as previous years detailed tables, which remain available for transparency of the measures used in those particular years. Additionally, we provide some tables with time series to provide transparency on how performance has changed over time. To provide comparable data we retrospectively apply the latest methodology to the previous two years. This will revise our estimates of what 2018/19 and 2019/20 would have been if calculated on this new basis. To illustrate the change this has made on our time series: 

 Revised Published Last YearChange
2018/1989.2%89.0%+0.2
2019/2086.0%85.7%+0.3

 

Data presented here in this release entirely covers adult 19+ provision only. In common with previous years, we do provide links to detailed tables which also incorporate data for 16-18 year old learners for completeness.

Additional featured tables

The following tables offer more detailed breakdowns and combinations of characteristics and are available in our table builder tool :

19+ Education and training achievement rates by Ethnicity
19+ Education and training achievement rates by Ethnicity group

19+ Education and training achievement rates by learners with a learning difficulty and or disability

19+ Education and training achievement rates by Sex

Help and support

Methodology

Find out how and why we collect, process and publish these statistics

National statistics

The United Kingdom Statistics Authority designated these statistics as National Statistics in accordance with the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 and signifying compliance with the Code of Practice for Statistics.

Designation signifying their compliance with the authority's Code of Practice for Statistics which broadly means these statistics are:

  • managed impartially and objectively in the public interest
  • meet identified user needs
  • produced according to sound methods
  • well explained and readily accessible

Once designated as National Statistics it's a statutory requirement for statistics to follow and comply with the Code of Practice for Statistics to be observed.

Find out more about the standards we follow to produce these statistics through our Standards for official statistics published by DfE guidance.

Contact us

Ask questions and provide feedback

If you have a specific enquiry about Further education and skills statistics and data:

FE Stats Dissemination

Email
FE.OFFICIALSTATISTICS@education.gov.uk

Telephone: Matthew Rolfe
020 7783 8300

Press office

If you have a media enquiry:

Telephone
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Public enquiries

If you have a general enquiry about the Department for Education (DfE) or education:

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