Academic Year 2021/22

Further education and skills

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See all updates (7) for Academic Year 2021/22
  1. Updated to add links to the interactive data visualisation tool

  2. Updated with full, final data covering the 2021/22 academic year (August 2021 to July 2022).

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

  4. Updated with data covering the first three quarters of 2021/22.

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

  6. Updated with data covering the first two quarters of 2021/22. Achievement rate data also added covering 2020/21

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

Introduction

This statistical release presents full year data on adult (19+) further education (FE) and skills in England for the full 2021/22 academic year (August 2021 to July 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’. 

From January, our proposal is to change the structure of the release but not reduce the amount of data published on a quarterly basis. These changes will address the complexity of the current release to improve user access to content and allow for easier maintenance. Please see section below headed “Future changes” for further details.

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

Data in this release covers a period 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 - 2021/22

The figures covering the 2021/22 academic year show:

Adult government-funded further education and skills participation including apprenticeships increased by 4.8% to 1,719,600 compared to 1,640,300 in the same period in 2020/21.

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

  • Females account for 61.0% (1,048,800).
  • Higher level (level 4 or above) participation increased by 12.7%, to 245,100 from 217,500 in 2020/21.
  • Adult education and training participation increased by 1.0% to 878,500 compared to 869,600 in 2020/21.
  • Community learning participation increased by 24.9% to 304,400 compared to 243,700 in 2020/21.

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 information on adult (19+) FE and skills participation in England for the full 2021/22 academic year (covering August 2021 to July 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.

However, the FE and skills data in this release are based on the final (fourteenth) ILR data return from FE and apprenticeship providers for the 2021/22 academic year.

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 to 2021 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 to 2020, or the 2020 to 2021 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

The 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.

Comparison of achievements, particularly with 2019/20 and 2020/21, should be treated with caution because the disruption to exams and assessments and breaks in learning etc will have led to less achievements in 2019/20 than would normally have been expected to achieve. Likewise, the 2020/21 year might have more achievements than would have otherwise been the case, given delays in training or passing assessments etc.

How to use this release and find data

This section provides guidance on finding data and providing feedback. 

Find my data 

To find information on topics of interest, expand the content sections i.e. Subject, Geography, Provider. In each section, there will be: 

  • Tables/charts and summary commentary on the relevant area
  • Links to additional pre-prepared tables

You can also create your own tables through the table tool or modify the pre-prepared tables which use the same files. 

In the ‘Interactive data visualisation tool’ section, there is a link to a new experimental data tool which has been developed to complement the release.

There is a Methodology document which is linked under ‘Useful information’ at the top of this release, which contains further information on the statistics published here.

At the top of the release, there is a link ‘Explore data and files’ which includes:

  • Data that sits underneath the release
  • Supporting tables created outside the EES platform
  • Underlying CSV files that contain richer base data, and associated metadata files

Summary tables displayed in each of the sections contain full year data for 2021/22 (August 2021 to July 2022), along with 2018/19, 2019/20 and 2020/21 figures as reported at the equivalent point in the relevant years. 

The pre-prepared tables (available at the bottom of each section) contain more information, and where possible show full year final data from 2016/17 to 2021/22. However, due to performance limitations, some files contain a shorter period of data than the standard six years.

If you are looking for historical data not available in this release, see the FE data library where there is more than six years’ worth of data.

To find previous publications on FE and Skills see the Statistics: further education and skills collection.

 

Related Releases

The latest apprenticeship and traineeships statistics can be found here Apprenticeship and traineeship release.

To find previous publications on FE and Skills see the Statistics: further education and skills collection.

Other related releases include: 

 

Feedback

This release is a completely new approach to publishing our data and statistics which we are looking to evolve over time. As a result, your feedback is important to help us improve and develop. To provide feedback on this release please email us at FE.OFFICIALSTATISTICS@education.gov.uk.

Interactive data visualisation tool

A new experimental data tool has been developed within the Microsoft Power BI software application to complement the further education and skills release in EES.

This new approach allows a more visual, interactive exploration of provider data with a number of different views and ‘drilldown’ capability to allow users to investigate education and training and community learning provision within different geographical areas and across providers.

Latest headline statistics

The cycle of updates for this section now aligns with full academic year data which can be found in the Annual time series section. 

Latest headline statistics will resume in this section when we publish quarter one for 2022/23.

Annual time series

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

Adult (19+) further education and skills:

Between 2014/15 and 2021/22, participation decreased by 34.2% from 2,613,700 to 1,719,600, and achievements decreased by 44.8% from 1,983,200 to 1,094,100.

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.

In 2021/22, the number of adult (19+) learners in receipt of benefits when they started their learning was 281,500. Based on self-reporting through the ILR, these are defined as those learners reporting that they were in receipt of Employment and Support Allowance - Work Related Activity Group (ESA WRAG), Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) or Universal Credit (if unemployed and looking for work).

Note: 

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 of provision and data sources are now more historical in nature such Workplace Learning and that relating to the Apprenticeship Grant for Employers, as well as data relating to pilots such as the Employer Ownership Pilots. Please see the Further education and skills statistics: methodology for further information.

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 to obtain the overall total. For more detail on how we count different measures please see the Further education and skills statistics: methodology.

 

Adult education budget:

In 2021/22, adult education budget funded participation increased by 8.9% to 1,007,400 compared to 925,300 in 2020/21.

Between 2016/17 and 2021/22, adult education budget participation decreased from 1,295,200 to 1,007,400, and achievements decreased from 1,090,300 to 841,500. 

Further education and skills learner characteristics

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

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

  • Females account for 61.0% (1,048,840).
  • Learners aged 19-24, 25-49, and 50 and over accounted for 26.0% (447,840), 57.6% (990,040) and 16.4% (281,370) respectively.
  • Those declaring a learner learning difficulty and/or disability (LLDD) account for 17.5% (291,010).

Create your own tables 

You can create your own tables in the table builder using the Further education and skills learners data. The following tables offer a range of useful breakdowns for 2016/17 to 2021/22. 

File subject What is available in the file
Further education and skills learners - detailed seriesIndicators: Achievements and Participation by level 

Filters: Sex, Ethnicity group, Ethnicity, LLDD, Ethnicity, Age (under 19/19+), Age group (with unknowns) and Provision Type 
Further education and skills learners - deprivationIndicators: Participation by level 

Filters: Learner deprivation, Age (under 19/19+), Age group (with unknowns) and Provision Type 
Further education and skills learners - learning difficulties and or disabilityIndicators: Achievements and Participation by level 

Filters: LLDD, LLDD primary, Ethnicity, Age (under 19/19+), Age group (with unknowns) and Provision Type 

Education and training learner characteristics

Adult (19+) participation in education and training increased by 1.0% to 878,520, compared to 869,560 in 2020/21.

Most learners participated in Level 2 courses (431,860), followed by Basic skills (270,630).

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

  • Females account for 64.3% (564,550).
  • 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).

For 2021/22, the most deprived fifth (20%) of areas contained 34.7% (304,220) of participating learners

For information on education and training by sector subject area, please see the ‘Subject' section.

Create your own tables 

You can create your own tables in the table builder using the Further education and skills learners data. Select ‘Education and Training’ using the ‘Provision Type’ filter to view education and training statistics. The following tables offer a range of useful breakdowns for 2016/17 to 2021/22. 

File subject What is available in the file
Further education and skills learners - detailed seriesIndicators: Achievements and Participation by level 

Filters: Sex, Ethnicity group, Ethnicity, LLDD, Ethnicity, Age (under 19/19+), Age group (with unknowns) and Provision Type 
Further education and skills learners - deprivationIndicators: Participation by level 

Filters: Learner deprivation, Age (under 19/19+), Age group (with unknowns) and Provision Type 
Further education and skills learners - learning difficulties and or disabilityIndicators: Achievements and Participation by level 

Filters: LLDD, LLDD primary, Ethnicity, Age (under 19/19+), Age group (with unknowns) and Provision Type 

Community learning

Community learning participation increased by 24.9% to 304,400 in 2021/22, compared to the same period in 2020/21. 

  • Personal and community development learning participation was 245,300.
  • Neighbourhood learning in deprived communities participation was 25,900.
  • Family English, maths and language participation was 13,300.
  • Wider family learning participation was 27,700.

Community learning learner characteristics in 2021/22 showed: 

  • Females accounted for 74.4% (226,600).
  • Learners aged 25 and over, represented 92.8% of participation (282,500).
  • Those declaring a learner learning difficulty and/or disability (LLDD) account for 20.5% (58,900).

Create your own tables 

You can create your own tables in the table builder using the Community learning learners data. The following tables offer a range of useful breakdowns for 2015/16 to 2021/22. 

File subject What is available in the file
Community learning learners - detailed series

Indicators: Participation and Achievements by type

Filters: Age group (with unknowns), Sex, Ethnicity, LLDD, Detailed Ethnicity and Ethnicity group

Community learning learners - learners with learning difficulties and or disabilityIndicators: Participation by type 

Filters: Ethnicity, LLDD, Age group (with unknowns) and LLDD primary

Subject

Adult further education and skills enrolments:

Out of 3,899,200 aim enrolments in adult further education and skills in 2021/22:

  • Science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects represent 17.7%.
  • Preparation for life and work accounted for most enrolments with 31.7% (1,235,900) followed by health, public services and care with 19.6% (765,400) and business, administration and law with 13.1% (509,300).

Education and training aims enrolments:

Of the 1,691,340 education and training learning aim enrolments in 2021/22:

• Science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects represent 14.5% (245,640).

• 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%).

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. Mayoral Combined Authorities (MCAs) and the Greater London Authority (GLA) are able to set their own wage thresholds for learners accessing Free Courses for Jobs under this extension. Full details regards funding rules and eligibility can be found in the ESFA funded adult education budget: funding and performance management rules 2021 to 2022.

 

Learners enrolled on courses as part of the Free Courses for Jobs offer

Full year final figures for the 2021/22 academic year show that;

  • The cumulative number of enrolments on the offer, reported between April 2021 and July 2022, stands at 24,470 (with 4,780 having started in the 2020/21 academic year). This includes those taking up free courses for jobs under the extended offer in 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 23,550. This is 70% 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 10,670 achievements by learners enrolled and funded through Free Courses for Jobs since April 2021.

Note: 

  • Free Courses for Jobs figures are based on enrolments in level 3 offer courses by eligible learners that have been coded in the ILR with Learning Delivery Monitoring as ‘Adult Level 3 Offer funded via the National Skills Fund’ and ‘Free Courses for Jobs (Level 3 Offer) for Low Wage Learners’.
  • Eligible learners are identified as a) those without prior attainment at Full level 3 or above; and b) from April 2022 those unemployed or earning below the national living wage and with prior attainment at Full level 3 or above; and c) those not enrolled on the course as part of an apprenticeship; and d) all those aged 24 and above or those aged 19-23 where there is not already a statutory entitlement to the course through the adult education budget. Eligible Learners is not limited only to those on the Adult Level 3 Offer – it includes learners who don’t receive the direct funding, yet enrolled and meet the underlying criteria.
  • The list of courses approved for funding as part of the offer included 447 qualifications as at July 2022 (up from 387 at 1 April 2021). The number of qualifications has changed slightly from month-to-month, as some were removed, and others added. The latest reported full academic year figures (and comparisons with the same months in previous years) are based on the eligible courses that were part of the offer in those months. Comparisons for 2020/21 and earlier are also provided based on the original 387 valid qualifications at the start of the offer. 
  • There are four months of data (April 2022 to July 2022) relating to the eligibility extension from April 2022 when those unemployed or earning below the national living wage and with prior attainment at Full level 3 or above could access Free Courses for Jobs.
  • Enrolment figures based on the earlier qualifications list are available through ‘Explore data’ below the table.
  • There will be a lag between qualifications being added to the list and some learners starting on Free Courses for Jobs. We define whether the course is eligible in a given month based on whether it was eligible for funding on the first of the month. For eligibility start dates after the first day of the month, the course is deemed active from the following month.

Further breakdowns of the total number of adults taking up Free Courses for Jobs since April 2021 can be accessed through the link below in ‘Create your own tables’.

Create your own tables 

You can create your own tables in the table builder using the Subject data. The following tables are set up as a useful starting point.

File subject What is available in the file
Education and training sector subject area tier 2 - detailed series

Indicators: Education and Training Enrolments 

Coverage: 2016/17 to 2021/22

Filters: Sector Subject Area (tier 2), STEM, Age group (with unknowns) and Detailed level 

Further education and skills subject - free courses for jobs detailed series

Indicator: Free courses for jobs total starts including extended offer, Free courses for jobs total starts under original offer

Coverage: April 2021 to July 2022

Filters: Region, LAD, PCON, start age, sex, LLDD, Ethnicity, sector subject area (tiers 1 and 2), employment status, prior attainment group

Note: due to small numbers, not all filters will cross-tabulate

Geographical breakdowns

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

The region with the highest further education and skills participation was London with 310,300 learners.

  • London also had the highest participation at below Level 2 (excluding Basic skills) with 72,500 learners, Basic skills with 104,700 learners, and Level 2 with 80,500 learners. 
  • The region with the most participating learners at Level 3 was the North West (56,800).
  • At Level 4 or above, the South East had the greatest number of learners (37,900) followed by the North West (35,200).

Further education and skills rate per 100,000 population

Accounting for population size in each region:

  • the North East has the highest rate of further education and skills participation (6,417 of adults aged 19-64).
  • the East of England has the lowest rate of participation (4,183 of adults aged 19-64).

More detailed breakdowns of further education and skills participation and achievement rates per population are available through the ‘Create your own tables’ link below. 

Create your own tables 

You can create your own tables in the table builder using the Geography data. The following tables offer a range of useful breakdowns for 2021/22. 

File subject What is available in the file
Further education and skills geography - detailed summaryLocations: Local Authority, Local Authority District, Parliamentary Constituency, National and Regional

Indicators: Participation, Indicative participation rate per 100,000 population, Achievements, Indicative achievements rate per 100,000 population, Starts, Indicative start rate per 100,000 population. (Note: starts cover apprenticeships only)

Filters: Provision type (All Further education and skills, Education and training, Apprenticeship, Community learning), Level (apprenticeship or FE level), Age group
Education and training geography - local authority districtLocations: Local Authority District, English Devolved Areas, National and Regional

Indicators: Aims Enrolments and Aims Achievements 

Filters: Sex, Level, Sector Subject Area (tier 1) name and Ethnicity group
Education and training geography - English devolved areasLocations: English Devolved Areas, Local Authority District, National and Regional

Indicators: Participation, Achievements 

Filters: Age group, Sex, Sector Subject Area (tier 1) name & code, Detailed level and Ethnicity group
Community learning geography - local authority districtLocations: Local Authority District, National and Regional

Indicators: Achievements and Participation by type

Filters: Age group (with unknowns), Sex and Ethnicity group

Providers

Adult further education and skills:

Of the 1,719,600 learners that participated in 2021/22 academic year:

  • Further education colleges accounted for the majority, 39.2% (673,500)
  • Private sector public funded providers account for 33.2% (570,600) and other public funded (i.e. local authorities and higher education institutions) providers a further 22.7% (389,700)
  • Schools, sixth form colleges, and special colleges make up 5.0% of participation (85,800)

Create your own tables 

You can create your own tables in the table builder using the provider data. The following tables offer a range of useful breakdowns for 2015/16 to 2021/22. 

File subject What is available in the file
Education and training providers - detailed participation and achievementsIndicators: Participation and achievements by level

Filters: Provider name and UKPRN
Education and training providers - detailed enrolmentsIndicators: Aim enrolments

Filters: Sector Subject Area, Level, Provider name and UKPRN
Community learning provider - detailed series

Indicators: Participation and achievements by type


Filters: Provider name, UKPRN

Basic skills

Note: we have amended how we refer to this type of provision, which was previously referred to as ‘English and maths’, which included English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL). Since January 2021 we have also started to report on participation on new essential digital skills provision (Essential Digital Skills) in this section of the release. 

We will now be referring to ‘English and maths’ provision as ‘basic skills’ to better reflect this type of learning, and we will show basic skills participation with and without essential digital skills to preserve our previous time series.

Adult basic skills including digital skills participation reported for 2021/22 was 443,850. Of these:

  • Participation on an English course was 239,160.
  • Participation on a Maths course was 258,310.
  • Participation on an English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) course was 123,730.
  • Participation on an Essential Digital Skills course was 17,590.

Adult basic skills excluding digital skills participation increased by 5.1% to 434,120 in 2021/22 compared to 2020/21.

Create your own tables 

You can create your own tables in the table builder using the Basic skills data. The following tables offer a range of useful breakdowns for 2021/22. 

File subject What is available in the file
Basic Skills - detailed seriesTime period: 2016/17 to 2021/22

Indicators: All Achievements, All Participation, Apprenticeship Achievements, Apprenticeship Participation, Education and Training Achievements, Education and Training Participation, Participation Percentage Change

Filters: Subject, Level, Reporting date and Age (under 19/19+) 
Basic skills - regional breakdown (reported to date)Time period: 2021/22

Locations: Regional, Local Authority District and Parliamentary constituency 

Indicators: Achievements and Participation 

Filters: Subject and level and Age (under 19/19+)

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.

Applications for advanced learner loans:

49,200 applications received for an advanced learner loan in 2021/22, a decrease of 21.7% on the 62,900 applications in 2020/21.

Of the 49,200 applications received for advanced learner loans in 2021/22:

  • The number of applications approved was 42,500.
  • The total value for loans approved was £130.4 million.
  • Level 3 diplomas received the most applications (21,800).
  • Majority of the loan demand continues to be from females with 77.1% (37,900) and by UK nationals with 85.7% (42,100).
  • By age group, the highest demand was from age groups 31-40 with 30.4% (15,000) and 24-30 with 26.4% (13,000).
  • The highest number of applications received were in the health, public services and care (18,300) and retail and commercial enterprise (10,600) sector subject areas.

Create your own tables 

You can create your own tables in the table builder using the Advanced learner loans applications data. The following table offers a useful breakdown for 2014/15 to 2021/22. 

File subject What is available in the file
Advanced learner loans - applicationsIndicators: Approved applications, Received applications and Total loan amount awarded (£000s) 

Filters: Characteristics (Age, Gender and UK status), Provider Type, Qualification type and Sector subject area (tier 1)

An underlying file 'Advanced learner loans applications - top 10 qualifications' contains information about the 10 learning aims that received the most advanced learner loan applications each academic year since 2014/15. This can be found in the Explore data and files section of the release.

National achievement rate tables

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.

 

Create your own tables 

You can create your own tables in the table builder using the Education and training achievement rates data. The following tables offer a range of useful breakdowns for 2019/20. 

File subject What is available in the file
Achievement rates - ethnicity Indicators: Achievement rate, Achievers, Completers, Leavers, Pass rate, Retention rate

Filters: Ethnicity, Gender, LLDD, Qualification type, Qualification level and Age group 
Achievement rates - genderIndicators: Achievement rate, Achievers, Completers, Leavers, Pass rate, Retention rate

Filters: Ethnicity, Gender, LLDD, Qualification type, Qualification level and Age group 
Achievement rates - learners with learning difficulties and or disabilityIndicators: Achievement rate, Achievers, Completers, Leavers, Pass rate, Retention rate

Filters: Ethnicity, Gender, LLDD, Qualification type, Qualification level and Age group 
Achievement rates - ethnicity groupIndicators: Achievement rate, Achievers, Completers, Leavers, Pass rate, Retention rate

Filters: Ethnicity, Gender, LLDD, Qualification type, Qualification level and Age group 

 

Future Changes

In recent years we have focussed on expanding the range of data being published, such as free courses for jobs. Additionally, there are a lot of sections, commentary, and extra tables built into the main release. Discussions with users have suggested it’s hard to find and access content within this release.

We are therefore considering simplifying the release structure to have less sections so, we can refocus content into two initial sections that provide an annual summary using full year data, followed by a section showing in-year provisional data.  We are also introducing a section to focus on helping users to find all the tables and files in the release rather than use the release structure to achieve the same thing.

Please note we are not intending to reduce the data files that are available quarterly. We will be looking at naming conventions of files and tables, as a one-off change from the January release as part of improving the ability of users to find files.

We are considering making these changes and welcome your feedback. Should you wish to provide feedback please contact us on FE.OFFICIALSTATISTICS@education.gov.uk

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

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