Further education in England

November 14, 1997

The further education sector in England comprises 444 colleges covering different types of study:

* general further education

* tertiary

* sixth-form (including former voluntary-aided and voluntary controlled)

* agriculture and horticulture

* art and design

* performing arts

* Thirteen specialist designated colleges.

The last category includes the Northern College of Residential Adult Education and Ruskin College that recruit on a national basis in contrast to the predominantly local or regional recruitment of most other colleges.

As well as the colleges that make up the further education sector, there are some 50 higher education institutions that deliver further education programmes, and some 300 other providers known as "external institutions" that are mainly local authority adult education centres. These also receive cash from the Further Education Funding Council.

College information

More than Pounds 2.9 billion in recurrent funding was allocated by the council to further education sector colleges, higher education institutions and external institutions in 1996-97.

The amount of funding allocated to all institutions increased by 1.4 per cent between 1995-96 and 1996-97.

Further education sector colleges vary in size. Twenty-six per cent of colleges have up to 2,000 students. Ten per cent have more than 15,000.

The proportion of income colleges receive from the council is 92 per cent on average for sixth-form colleges, 73 per cent for general further education colleges and tertiary colleges, 58 per cent for art and design and performing arts colleges, and 48 per cent for agriculture and horticulture colleges.

The remaining income comes from a number of sources including education contracts with local authorities; training and enterprise councils; employers; the Higher Education Funding Council for England; and tuition fees and charges.

Student information

There were nearly 4 million further education students in 1996-97, an increase of 33 per cent since 1993-94, mainly in part-time provision

Most students in further education are adults enrolled on part-time programmes.

Most are on vocational programmes: 16 per cent are on NVQ or GNVQ courses, 20 per cent on GCSE and GCE A/AS level courses, with the remainder on other vocational courses. The most popular subjects of study are business-related programmes, humanities, science and health and community care-related subjects.

Information from the funding council's individualised student record shows the distribution of students by level of qualification within the NVQ framework. Twenty-three per cent are on foundation (level 1) or entry-level programmes; 21 per cent are on intermediate (level 2) programmes; 28 per cent are on advanced (level 3) programmes; and 4 per cent are on level 4/5 or higher education programmes.

Participation in education by 16 - 18-year-olds

Overall participation in education by 16 to 18-year-olds increased by 11 percentage points between 1989-90 and 1996-97.

Participation by 16 to 18-year-olds is higher in the further education sector than in either schools or higher education. Twenty-two per cent of 16 to 18-year-olds are in school sixth forms; 28 per cent are studying full-time further education programmes; 6 per cent are in full-time higher education and 8 per cent are on part-time programmes, predominantly in further education.

Crossover between further and higher education

A small proportion of students in the further education sector (212,000) are studying on higher education programmes - 5 per cent. These students are on non-designated higher education programmes funded directly by the Further Education Funding Council (mainly Higher National Certificates) or on programmes funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England or they are on courses franchised to them by a neighbouring university.

The graphs are not available on this database.

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