Academic year 2022/23

Further education workforce

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  1. Additional footnote added to the 'Teacher, management and leadership vacancies in further education providers' table to aid understanding.

  2. Update to correct date within text.

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Introduction

This is the second release in the series of annual statistics on the further education workforce in England. The information in this release is based on data collected in the Further Education Workforce Data Collection (FEWDC) and covers the 2022 to 2023 academic year.

The FEWDC collects information on the FE workforce and vacancies from the following providers:

  • General Further Education Colleges (GFECs), including tertiary colleges;
  • Sixth form colleges;
  • Private sector public funded providers, which includes Independent Training Providers (ITPs);
  • Other public funded providers. This includes some Higher Education (HE) providers, some Local Authority (LA) providers and a small number of University Technical Colleges (UTCs), specialist colleges and 16-19 free schools.

It also collects data about governors from GFECs (including tertiary colleges) and sixth form colleges, including designated institutions. 

Not all providers in scope were able to return data for the collection. The figures in this release are therefore estimates based on known data and should be treated with caution.

The proportion of providers returning data this year has increased, compared to the first year of the release, from 75.6% of 1,657 providers in scope in 2021/22 to 80.9% of 1,563 providers in scope in 2022/23. The FEWDC is a mandatory collection, therefore it is expected that in future years coverage will improve beyond that presented in this publication. Improved coverage will improve the quality and accuracy of findings.

More information on the data coverage is provided in the “About these statistics” section. Information on the scaling method used to account for missing data is provided in the methodology.

As FE providers become more familiar with the requirements of the collection, the coverage should increase and therefore improve the data quality and accuracy of any estimates. 

This release is badged as official statistics in development, which means that these statistics are undergoing evaluation for quality and user need. If you have feedback, please use the details in the “Contact us” section. 


Headline facts and figures - 2022/23

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About these statistics

Data for second mandatory Further Education Workforce Data Collection (FEWDC) was collected in September 2023. Data for the 2022/23 academic year was collected from FE providers in scope. As this was still a relatively new data collection, we still expected some issues with incomplete coverage and data quality. This section provides information on the collection to aid interpretation of our findings. Throughout the publication we have scaled up the data from providers that returned data to create estimates for the size of the workforce. See methodology for more information.

Proportion of providers returning data

A higher proportion of General Further Education Colleges (GFECs) and sixth form colleges returned data, compared to private sector public funded providers and other public funded providers returning data. This means we have higher confidence in the figures reported for GFECs and sixth form colleges.

The data collection was split into three parts, which could be completed separately by further education providers.

1. Further education workforce

This part of the data collection relates to staff employed by further education providers, including information on pay and characteristics. Each record collected related to a single member of staff employed by a provider, and the details of their main contract. Some staff may have been employed by more than one provider and therefore have more than one record in the data collection.

The following further education providers were in scope:

  • General Further Education Colleges (GFECs), including tertiary colleges;
  • Sixth form colleges;
  • Private sector public funded providers;
  • Other public funded providers.

The proportion of providers that returned data has increased, from 75.6% of 1,657 providers in scope in 2021/22 to 80.9% of 1,563 providers in scope  in 2022/23.

We assess data returned from providers for data quality issues. Where a significant data quality issue exists, data from a provider may not be able to be used for analysis. Overall, we were able to analyse data from 79.3% of the 1,563 further education providers in scope for the 2022/23 FEWDC. See methodology for more information.

Impact on conclusions

Of the 79.3% of providers whose data we analysed, data coverage was highest for GFECs and sixth form colleges, meaning we have higher confidence in the figures reported for these providers.

Although there are a relatively small number of GFECs, they have much larger student cohorts compared to other types of FE provider. This means that despite accounting for only 12% of providers, they account for a far higher FE student population of over 40%. 

2. Further education vacancies

This part of the data collection relates to teaching and management/leadership vacancies.

The following further education providers were in scope:

  • General Further Education Colleges (GFECs), including tertiary colleges;
  • Sixth form colleges;
  • Private sector public funded providers;
  • Other public funded providers.

The proportion of providers that returned data for the vacancy data collection has increased, from 51.4% of 1,657 providers in scope in 2021/22 to 69.9% of 1,563 providers in scope in 2022/23.

Impact on conclusions

The proportion of providers returning data to this part of the data collection was lower than that of the workforce data collection for all provider types. Throughout this publication we have not attempted to estimate the number of vacancies in providers that have not returned data. This is because it is not possible to determine if the vacancies in the providers that returned data are indicative of the vacancies in the providers who did not return data. 

This means that vacancy figures shown in this release relate to only the 69.9% of providers that returned data and therefore could undercount the true number of vacancies in the FE sector.

3. Governors

This part of the data collection collected data from GFECs and sixth form colleges about the size and characteristics of their governing bodies. 

The following further education providers were in scope:

  • General Further Education Colleges (GFECs), including tertiary colleges;
  • Sixth form colleges.

Of the 231 colleges in scope for the 2022/23 governor data collection, 86.1% provided data. This is lower than the proportion of GFECs and sixth form colleges that returned data on the staff workforce data collection and a decrease from the previous collection (87.9%). 

Impact on conclusions

We have provided estimates for the number of governors in GFECs and sixth form colleges. As the proportion of providers who return data to the collection increases in future years, these estimates will become more accurate. See methodology for further details about the scaling. 

Provider types in scope

The following further education providers were in scope for the Further Education Workforce Data Collection and the Further Education Vacancy Collection:

  • General Further Education Colleges (GFECs), including tertiary colleges;
  • Sixth form colleges;
  • Private sector public funded providers;
  • Other public funded providers.

Private sector public funded providers and other public funded providers contain the following sub groups:

  • Independent Training Provider (ITP);
  • Local Authority with an Education Remit;
  • Special Post-16 Institution;
  • School Based Providers.

Based on user feedback, these four sub groups will also be reported in the commentary this year. 

The size of the further education workforce

The national figures shown in this release are an estimate of the size of the further education (FE) workforce. To calculate estimates, we scaled up the data of providers who made a return in the FE workforce data collection, to account for those providers who did not. This means that although not all providers returned data, the figures here represent our best estimate of the size of the FE workforce for all providers in scope.

Information on the scaling technique can be found in the methodology, as well as information about the roles included in each staff category.

Unscaled data are available in the data catalogue.

Headcount

There were an estimated 204,800 (headcount) staff working in the further education sector in the 2022/23 academic year, which is similar to 2021/22 (205,200).

Most staff were employed by General Further Education Colleges including Tertiary (GFECs) 59.5% and private sector public funded providers 24.8%. 

A higher proportion of the workforce in sixth form colleges and other public funded providers are teaching staff, compared to private sector public funded providers and GFECs.

For sub groups of private sector public funded or other public funded:

Full-Time Equivalent (FTE)

Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) is only collected for staff on permanent or fixed term contracts. It is not collected for staff on zero hour, variable hour or other contract types because staff on these contracts will not ordinarily work a regular number of hours per week.

There are an estimated 178,600 headcount staff on permanent or fixed term contracts.

FTE is able to provide a more accurate estimate of the size of the FE workforce for staff on permanent or fixed term contracts as it best reflects the varied working patterns that the workforce may have. 

There are an estimated 147,200 Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) staff on permanent or fixed term contracts working in the further education sector.

A further breakdown is available for FTE and headcount by provider type and role.

Workforce characteristics

This section presents key workforce characteristics for the whole FE sector. At the end of each section a link is provided to tables showing a breakdown of the data by provider type and roles. We discuss headcount in this section, rather than FTE. This is so that we can consider the characteristics of the workforce without differences in working pattern influencing the figures.

All figures presented for sector totals have been weighted by provider type and role. See methodology for more details and an example calculation.

Gender

Gender make up of the further education workforce has remained similar from 2021/22 to 2022/23 and is predominantly (65.2%) female in 2022/23. While this is true across all role types, it is particularly prominent in admin and support roles. 

Three out of every five (59.6%) FE teachers are female, which is similar to the 60.6% of learners participating in FE and skills in 2022/23 who were female.

A further breakdown is available for  gender by individual provider types and roles. 

Ethnicity 

This year we have seen an increase in the proportion of staff choosing to disclose their ethnicity. In 2022/23, 88.7% of staff disclosed their ethnicity, up from 87.0% in 2021/22.  A higher proportion of staff disclosing their ethnicity means we can make more accurate estimates about the ethnic diversity of the FE workforce.  

Changes in proportions of staff identifying as belonging to each ethnicity from 2021/22 to 2022/23 could be in part due to more staff disclosing their ethnicity this year, as opposed to a change in the ethnic makeup of the FE workforce. 

In the 2022/23 academic year 20.6% of the further education workforce identified as belonging to an ethnic minority group. This increase from 18.9% in 2021/22 could be in part due to more staff disclosing their ethnicity this year. 

Some 6.0% of the workforce identified as Asian or Asian British in 2022/23, the same as 2021/22. 6.7% identified as white minority groups, up from 5.7% in 2021/22 and 3.7% as Black or Black British, down slightly from 3.8% in 2021/22. 

By comparison, 10.1% of the working age population were recorded as Asian or Asian British, 8.8% white minority groups and 4.4% Black or Black British in the 2021 Census.

Staff identifying as belonging to an ethnic minority group are not equally represented at leadership positions. In the 2022/23 academic year, 12.3% of FE leaders identified as belonging to an ethnic minority group. This increase from 11.1% in 2021/22 could be in part due to more staff disclosing their ethnicity this year. In 2022/23, 3.6% of FE leaders identify as Asian or Asian British and 1.8% Black or Black British.  

A further breakdown is available for ethnicity by individual provider types and roles.

Age

In the 2022/23 academic year, the median age of staff in the further education sector was 46, the same as in 2021/22. By role:

  • Leadership staff median age was 50;
  • Management staff median age was 47;
  • Teaching staff median age was 47;
  • Support staff median age was 45;
  • Admin staff median age was 42.

A further breakdown is available for age by individual provider types and roles.

Disability status

In 2022/23, 7.3% of the further education workforce identified as having a disability, up from 6.5% in 2021/22. This varied by role with staff in support roles more likely to identify as being disabled (8.9%) than staff in leadership roles (4.5%).

A further breakdown is available for disability status by individual provider types and roles.

Subjects taught by teaching staff

The Further Education Workforce Data Collection asked providers to select the main subject taught by each member of their teaching staff from a list of options. If a member of teaching staff teaches multiple subjects, the subject they spend most of their time teaching would be selected as their main subject.

If a provider cannot allocate a member of their teaching staff to any of the named subjects they are advised to select “Other” as the main subject taught. The most common subject selected for teachers was “Other” (9.7% of teaching staff). We are working on revising the list of subjects that providers can select from. It is hoped that in future collections, the number of teaching staff allocated to this ”other" category will reduce. 

See the methodology for which subjects are defined as academic, vocational or other subject types. 

All figures presented for sector totals have been weighted by provider type and role. See methodology for more details. 

Subject types

In the 2022/23 academic year, for their main subject:

  • 51.0% of teaching staff taught vocational subjects, the same as in 2021/22;
  • 22.4% of teaching staff taught academic subjects, up slightly from 22.1% in 2021/22;
  • 26.6% of teaching staff taught other subject types, down slightly from 26.9% in 2021/22.

A further breakdown is available for subject types taught in each provider type.

Main subject taught

In the 2023/22 academic year, the following subjects were most commonly reported as main subject taught:

  • Health, public services and care 7.6%;
  • Business, management and administration 5.6%;
  • Construction, planning and the built environment 5.4%;
  • Mathematics 4.2%;
  • English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) & English 4.0%.

A further breakdown is available for the main subject taught by teaching staff in each provider type. 

Working patterns and contract types

Providers were asked to report information on an individual's main contract only. 

We have scaled up data by provider type and role to calculate the estimates in this section. This means that although not all providers returned data, the figures represent our best estimates of the total number and percentage of staff for each working pattern or contract type across the providers in scope. The methodology provides more details on scaling , including an example calculation.

 Working patterns were only collected for staff who had permanent or fixed term contracts.  See methodology for more information. 

Working patterns

In the 2022/23 academic year, two thirds of the workforce that had permanent or fixed term contracts (67.1%) worked full time. The workforce in independent training providers were more likely to work full time than in other provider types.

In the 2022/23 academic year, most of the workforce in leadership, management, teaching or admin roles worked full time:

  • 64.4% of teaching staff worked full time;
  • 53.4% of support staff worked full time;
  • 74.2% of admin staff worked full time;
  • 85.9% of management staff worked full time;
  • 91.5% of leadership staff worked full time.

By comparison, ONS data shows that 77% of working age people (16 to 64 year olds) who were employed in 2021 worked full time and 23% worked part time.

A further breakdown is available for working patterns by individual provider type and roles.

Contract types

In the 2022/23 academic year, 83.4% of the workforce had permanent contracts, up from 81.9% in 2021/22. The use of zero hour or variable hour contracts was more common in other public funded providers than other provider types.

Staff in management and leadership roles (over 95%) were most likely to have a permanent contract and teaching staff (79.2%) the least likely:

  • 79.2% of teaching staff had permanent contracts;
  • 83.6% of support staff had permanent contracts;
  • 83.1% of admin staff had permanent contracts;
  • 96.4% of management staff had permanent contracts;
  • 96.3% of leadership staff had permanent contracts.

A further breakdown is available for contract types by individual provider type and roles.

Further education workforce pay

Providers in scope for salary calculations

The average (median) salary has been calculated based on data provided in the Further Education Workforce Data Collection (FEWDC) and has not been scaled to account for providers who did not return data. Therefore, estimates for provider types with a lower response rate are likely to be less accurate. 

Which staff have been included in annual salary calculations?

Due to how data was recorded in the data collection, only staff who are employed on a permanent or fixed term contract have been included in annual salary calculations. This is because staff who are employed on permanent or fixed term contracts usually work a regular number of hours per week.

Staff employed on zero hours, variable hours, or other contract types are not included in workforce pay calculations. Limitations in the way the data was collected from providers means that making an accurate estimate of the annual salary for these staff members is not possible.

We are working on adapting future collections to ensure that we can collect data which will allow us to calculate estimates of salaries for these staff.

Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) salary

Due to improved data quality, for 2022/23 we are now able to report the FTE salary for staff on permanent or fixed term contracts. FTE salary includes both full time staff and the salaries of part time staff that have been scaled up to an FTE salary. Therefore it gives a more accurate estimate of the median salary of the FE workforce, as opposed to full-time salary that was reported in the 2021/22 publication. This is because more people are included in the estimate. 

FTE  annual salary for 2022/23 is not comparable to the full-time salary reported in 2021/22.  Therefore year-to-year comparisons should not be made between these two measures. 

Full-time salary

We will continue to report on full-time annual salary for the 2022/23 academic year for staff on permanent or fixed term contracts. This enables comparisons to be made between 2021/22 and 2022/23 academic years.

Approximately half, 58% (104,200), of all individuals recorded in the data collection work full-time, and have a fixed term or permanent contract. Male staff are more likely to work full-time and on a permanent or fixed term contract than female staff and therefore are overrepresented in median pay calculations. We have not attempted to adjust for this in our calculations. Therefore our estimates of full-time salaries are not a fully representative estimate of salaries for all staff. See methodology for more information. 

Why are FTE salary and full-time salary not comparable?

FTE average salary includes both staff who work full time and those who work part time. The characteristics of staff who work full time are not the same as those staff who work part time. For example, male staff are more likely to work full time than female staff.  Therefore, the group of people included in the average for FTE salary is calculated is not comparable to the group of people included  in the average for full-time salary. 

Full-time salary

In 2022/23, there has been an increase in the median average salary for full-time members of the workforce on permanent or fixed term for all roles.

Further breakdowns are available for the full-time median annual salary:

Full-time Equivalent (FTE) salary

Due to an improvement in data quality, this year we are able to report the median Full-time Equivalent (FTE) salary for all permanent and fixed term staff. Full-time Equivalent (FTE) salary includes both full time staff and the salaries of part time staff that have been scaled up to an FTE salary. Approximately 157,000 (87%) of all individuals recorded in the data collection have a permanent or fixed term contract and were therefore included in FTE salary analysis.

FTE salary is able to provide a more accurate estimate of the average salary of the FE workforce, compared to full-time salary. This is because a higher proportion of the workforce are included in the estimate for FTE salary, compared to full-time salary.

FTE salary is not comparable to the full time salary reported last year due to differences in the cohort used for calculations. To compare salaries from 2021/22 to 2022/23, use the full-time salary presented in the above section. 

Pay by role

In 2022/23, the median FTE average salary for members of the workforce on permanent or fixed term for teaching staff was:

  • £34,600 in General Further Education Colleges including Tertiary (GFECs);
  • £44,300 in sixth form colleges;
  • £30,000 in private sector public funded providers;
  • £36,700 in other public funded providers.

For sub groups of private sector public funded or other public funded:

  • £30,000 in Independent Training Providers (ITPs);
  • £29,000 in special post-16 institutions;
  • £31,000 in local authorities with an education remit;
  • £44,400 in school based providers.

Further breakdowns are available for the median annual salary by role and provider type:

Full time equivalent (FTE) salaries for staff on permanent or fixed term contracts by role and provider type

Further breakdowns are available for the median annual salary by gender or age group:

Pay by region for teaching staff

Pay by region is based on the location of the provider, as recorded in the Individualised Learner Record (ILR) database. Further education providers may operate across multiple locations and regions. Therefore staff recorded as employed by a provider may not necessarily be working in the region that the college has been allocated to.

Due to improvements in data quality, we are now able to estimate a Full-time Equivalent (FTE) median salary. This is a more accurate estimate of the FE workforce average salary compared to full-time average salary which was reported in the 2021/22 publication. This is because FTE salary includes salaries of both full time and part time staff. FTE salary is not comparable to the full-time salary presented in the 2021/22 publication. Full time salary for 2022/23 is included the underlying data. 

Sixth form colleges have the smallest range of FTE salaries between regions for teaching staff; from £37,500 in the South West to £47,200 in London, a 26% difference.

Other public funded providers have the biggest range of FTE salaries between regions for teaching staff; from £29,400 in the East Midlands to £44,800 in London, a 52% difference.

Data on salaries for other roles, across regions are shown in this table.

Pay by subject

Average salary has not been reported for subjects with 25 or less teachers on permanent or fixed term contracts since smaller numbers are likely to make the data less representative.

Average salary is based on the main subject that each teacher taught. For instance, if a member of teaching staff taught geography for 50% of their time, mathematics 40% and sociology 10%, their salary would be reported for geography.

Last year we have presented subject pay breakdowns for General Further Education Colleges including Tertiary (GFECs) and sixth form colleges only. For 2022/23, this breakdown is available in the underlying data files.

In the 2022/23 data collection, a higher proportion of providers returned data. We can now present the median average pay for each subject across the whole further education sector. This year we present the Full-time Equivalent (FTE) salary, as opposed to the salary of full time staff only. FTE salary is a more accurate estimate of the salary of the FE workforce as is calculated from salaries of both full time and part time staff. This means any staff working part time in the provider, and part time in industry would now be included in this analysis. 

The top ten highest-paid subjects are all academic subjects.

There was a £17,500 (65%) difference between the highest and lowest paid average salary by subject:

  • Teaching staff teaching history, classical studies, modern foreign languages, philosophy or religious studies as their main subject had the highest median annual salary of £44,300.
  • Teaching staff teaching citizenship studies as their main subject had the lowest median annual salary of £26,700.

Unfilled teaching and management/leadership vacancies

Unfilled teaching and management/leadership vacancy figures are based only on the 69.9% of further education providers in scope and who returned both the vacancy data collection and the workforce data collection. 

We have not attempted to scale these figures up to provide an overall estimate for all providers due to potential bias in the data return. For example, a provider with many/few vacancies may be less/more likely to return data.  Therefore any attempt to scale up collected data to reach a total number would be subject to potential bias. 

What do we mean by unfilled vacancy?

Providers were asked to report how many vacancies there were for teaching and management/leadership positions throughout the 2022/23 academic year. They were also asked how many of these were filled during the year. 

We then calculated the number of unfilled teaching vacancies at the end of the 2022/23  academic year by subtracting the number of teaching vacancies that were filled during the year from the total number of teaching vacancies throughout the year. 

An equivalent calculation was used to determine the number of unfilled management and leadership vacancies.

What do we mean by unfilled vacancy rate?

The unfilled teaching vacancy rate shows the number of unfilled teaching vacancies by the end of the 2022/23 academic year, per 100 teaching positions. 

The unfilled management and leadership vacancy rate shows the number of unfilled management and leadership vacancies by the end of the 2022/23  academic year, per 100 management and leadership positions. 

An example calculation is shown in the methodology. 

Unfilled teaching vacancies

Vacancy figures shown in this section relate to only 69.9% of providers. Therefore we have reported vacancy figures as a rate, rather than the number of vacancies. This is because there could be potential bias in the data return. For example, a provider with many/few vacancies may be less/more likely to return data.

 

Vacancy figures for 2022/23 are not comparable to those presented for 2021/22. This is because reported vacancy figures are only indicative of the providers who have returned data that academic year. Since a different set of providers returned data in 2021/22 and 2022/23, we are unable to make comparisons between each year. Vacancy rates within a year are comparable, for example when comparing different subjects or provider types within a year. As response rates and data quality continue to improve, the publication will be better placed to draw comparisons year on year. 

By the end of the 2022/23 academic year 4.7 per 100 teaching positions were vacant.

Sixth form colleges (1.8 per 100 positions) had the lowest unfilled vacancy rate for teaching staff and other public funded providers the highest (5.5 per 100). 

Unfilled teaching vacancy rates at the end of the 2022/23 academic vary by region. For sixth form colleges, special post-16 institutions and school based providers, London had the highest unfilled vacancy rate. For GFECs, the highest vacancy rate was in North West. ITPs had the had the highest rate in East Midlands and local authorities with an education remit had the highest rate in West Midlands.

We determined providers' region using the Individualised Learner Record (ILR) database. Further education providers may operate across multiple locations and regions. Therefore some vacancies recorded by a provider may not necessary be for positions in the region that the college has been allocated to. 

By subject

Vacancy figures shown in this section relate to only 69.9% of providers. Therefore we have reported vacancy figures as a rate, rather than the number of vacancies. This is because there could be potential bias in the data return. For example, a provider with many/few vacancies may be less/more likely to return data.

Subjects taught by 50 staff or less have been excluded from these figures since smaller numbers are likely to make the data less representative.

The subject with the highest rate of teaching positions that were vacant by the end of the 2022/23 academic year were:

  • Environmental Science (22.5 per 100),
  • Construction, Planning and the Built Environment (9.6 per 100),
  • Agriculture and Horticulture (9.4 per 100),
  • Design, Engineering and Manufacturing (8.9 per 100).

The high vacancy rate in Environmental Science is driven by four providers which currently employ no Environmental Science teachers but are recruiting for new teaching staff in this subject.

Unfilled management and leadership vacancies: 

Vacancy figures shown in this section relate to only 69.9% of providers. Therefore we have reported vacancy figures as a rate, rather than the number of vacancies. This is because there could be potential bias in the data return. For example, a provider with many/few vacancies may be less/more likely to return data.

By the end of the 2022/23 academic year, 2.2 per 100 management and leadership positions were vacant. Sixth form colleges (1.1 unfilled vacancy per 100 positions) had the lowest unfilled vacancy rate for management and leadership staff and other public funded providers the highest (2.7 per 100).

We determined providers' region using the Individualised Learner Record (ILR) database. Further education providers may operate across multiple locations and regions. Therefore some vacancies recorded by a provider may not necessary be for positions in the region that the college has been allocated to. 

By region, at the end of the 2022/23 academic year:

  • East Midlands had the highest proportion of leadership and management positions still unfilled for other public funded providers (9.0 per 100) and sixth form colleges (4.0 per 100),
  • Yorkshire had the highest proportion of leadership and management positions still unfilled for General Further Education Colleges Inc. Tertiary (GFECs) (5.0 per 100),
  • London had the highest proportion of leadership and management positions still unfilled private sector public funded providers (2.6 per 100). 

Governors

The figures provided here are estimates of the number of governors in General Further Education Colleges including Tertiary (GFECs) and sixth form colleges. To calculate estimates, we scaled up the data of providers who made a return in the FE workforce data collection, to account for those providers who did not. Information on the scaling technique can be found in the Methodology.

Unscaled data are available in the data catalogue.

In 2022/23, we estimate that there were 3,800 (headcount) governors serving in colleges:

  • 3,100 governors in GFECs,
  • 700 governors in sixth form colleges.

Under the Further and Higher Education Act 1992, the members of the governing body of a college corporation must include staff and students and, in the case of sixth-form college corporations, parents of students under 19. Although this is not a requirement, it is common for the principal/CEO to also be a member of the governing body.

The makeup of governors has remained similar from 2021/22 to 2022/23.  Nearly three quarters (74.7%) of governors in GFECs were independent governors, which was higher than the 66.6% reported in sixth form colleges. However unlike GFECs, sixth form colleges must have parent governors. In total, parent governors accounted for 6.9% of all sixth form college governors.

Length of time in role

The FE governance guide says in the section on Terms of office (under Recruiting and developing governors): "All the governance codes used by corporations emphasise the value of board membership being refreshed at intervals." 

As in 2021/22, in the 2022/23 academic year, two thirds (66.5%) of governors had been in their role for four years or less. Sixth form colleges have a higher proportion of governors who have been in their role for 12 years or longer, 10.4% compared to 2.8% in GFECs (including tertiary). This is an increase from 9.7% for sixth forms and a decrease for GFECs from 3.7% in 2021/22. 

Governor characteristics

Data in this section has not been scaled to account for colleges that have not responded to the data collection.  This is because we do not have any previously collected datasets about governor characteristics to compare the scaled figures against. Therefore figures provided are for responding providers only. 

Gender

As in 2021/22, there are more male than female governors in GFECs and sixth form colleges; in 2022/23 54.4% were male. 

Ethnicity 

In the 2022/23 academic year, 18.2% of college governors identified as belonging to an ethnic minority group, up from 17.5% in 2021/22. 

Some 7.3% of governors identified as Asian or Asian British, 4.1% as white minorities  and 3.7% as Black or Black British.

By comparison the 2021 Census shows, 10.1% of the working age population were Asian or Asian British, 8.8% white minority groups, and 4.4% Black or Black British.

Age 

In the 2022/23 academic year, just over two thirds of governors (69.5%) in further education colleges were aged 45 or older. Sixth form colleges had a higher percentage of governors in the 16-18 age group, 9.9% compared to 4.7% in GFECs. 

The governing bodies of colleges must contain some student governors. Typically, sixth form student governors will fall into the 16-18 age group , whereas student governors in GFECs are drawn from a wider age range. This is likely to explain why sixth form colleges have a higher proportion of governors in the 16-18 age group, compared to GFECs.

Disability status

In the 2022/23 academic year, 6.4% of governors in further education colleges identified as having a disability, down from 7.2% in 2021/22. A higher proportion of governors in GFECs identify as having a disability (6.8%) compared to GFECs (4.9%). 

Unfilled governor vacancies

What do we mean by unfilled vacancies?

Colleges were asked to report how many vacancies there were for governor positions throughout the 2022/23 academic year. 

They were also asked to report how many of these vacancies went on to be subsequently filled during the 2022/23 academic year. 

We used this information to calculate the number of unfilled governor vacancies at the end of the 2022/23 academic year, by subtracting the number of governor vacancies that were filled during the year from the total number of governor vacancies throughout the year. 

What do we mean by unfilled vacancy rate?

The unfilled vacancy rate relates to positions that were unfilled by the end of the 2022/23 academic year.

Vacancy figures shown in this section relate to only 86.1% of providers (those that returned data). Therefore we have reported vacancy figures as a rate, rather than the number of vacancies. This is because there could be potential bias in the data return. For example, a provider with many/few vacancies may be less/more likely to return data.

Vacancy figures for 2022/23 are not comparable to those presented for 2021/22. This is because reported  vacancy figures are only indicative of the providers who have returned data that academic year. As response rates and data quality continue to improve, the publication will be better placed to draw comparisons year on year. Vacancy rates within a year are comparable, for example when comparing governor vacancy rates across provider types within a year. 

Overall, 6.7 per 100 governor positions were unfilled by the end of the 2022/23 academic year. Sixth form colleges had a higher rate of unfilled governor positions, at 8.2 per 100 positions, compared to 6.4 per 100 in GFECs.

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Methodology

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

Official statistics in development

These statistics are undergoing a development. They have been developed under the guidance of the Head of Profession for Statistics and published to involve users and stakeholders at an early stage in assessing their suitability and quality.

They have been produced as far as possible in line with the Code of Practice for Statistics.

This can be broadly interpreted to mean that 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

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

Contact us

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

Further Education Workforce Team

Email: FurtherEducation.WORKFORCE@education.gov.uk
Contact name: Fran Elliott

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