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Overview
The Further Education Sector in NI consists of 6 regional FE colleges operating across 40 campuses.  The sector employs over 4,000 FTE staff (inc lecturers and support staff), has a turnover of circa £260m and works with well over 10,000 businesses across NI. 



FURTHER EDUCATION STATISTICS

2016/17 STATISTICS ON ALL ENROLMENTS[1]

(Source: FE Activity Stats)

80,401 students (19% decrease in student numbers from 99,293 in 2013/14) of which: 

  • 17% Full Time, 83% Part Time
  • 53% Male, 47% Female students (change from 50/50 split in 2013/14)

153,088 enrolments (decrease from 180,000 enrolments in 2013/14) of which:

  • Continued growth in the proportion of regulated (versus non regulated enrolments).
  • 84% Regulated enrolments  / 16% Non Regulated (change from 78% / 22% split in 2013/14 and in line with FE Means Success). 

2016/17 STATISTICS ON REGULATED[2] ENROLMENTS ONLY

(Source: FE Activity Stats)

ALL LEVELS OF PROVISION

67,344 students on regulated courses of which:

  • The majority (61%) are aged 19 & under, 13% are 20-25, 26% are aged 25+
  • There has been a light increase in the proportion of students aged 19 and under over the last four years from 58% to 61%
  • 20% Full Time, 80% Part Time (slight increase to more students studying full-time, up from 18% four years ago)
  • 42% of all learners are from the most deprived areas of NI (e.g. two most deprived quintiles)  [NWRC and SWC had the highest proportion from these most deprived quintiles at 55% and 51%]

128,629 regulated enrolments

  • Enrolments by level show 2/3 of all our provision continue to be at Level 2 and below…’picking up the pieces from schools’.  Under the ES Stats below – shows that 77% of all Level 2 & below is by students aged 16-24 – therefore left school recently with lack of qualifications
  • 17% ES, 74% FE, 9% HE
  • There continues to be an even split over last four years of two-thirds of students at Level 2 and below and one third at Level 3 and above
  • ..or more positively could say 78% studying at Level 2 and above
  • Of the 128,629 regulated enrolments in 2016/17 those at:
    • ‘Level 1 and below’ accounted for 22% (27,758)
    • 45% (58,435) at ‘Level 2’
    • 24% (31,261) at ‘Level 3’
    • 9% (11,175) were at ‘Level 4 and above’.
    • 19% of students are studying ‘narrow’ STEM subjects, whereas 28% are studying ‘broader’ STEM subjects (stats have remained consistent over last four years)

Performance rates:

  • 90% retention rate
  • 86% achievement rate
  • 78% success rate
  • The higher the level of the study – the better the performance rates as shown below

2016-17

Retention

Achievement

Success

Entry & Level 1

87%

82%

71%

Level 2

91%

85%

78%

Level 3

91%

90%

82%

Level 4 & above

94%

92%

87%

Total

90%

86%

78%

 

2016-17

Retention

Achievement

Success

ES

84%

71%

60%

FE

92%

89%

81%

HE

94%

92%

87%

Total

90%

86%

78%

ESSENTIAL SKILLS LEVELS ONLY

(E.g. Level 2 and below)

The Essential Skills stats for 2016/17 show that: 

(ES Skills Statistics)                                                                                                    

  • 35,779 enrolments on ES courses
  • Of these – the breakdown is 37% Numeracy, 34% Literacy and 28% ICT courses
  • Importantly 77% of ES learners during 2016/17 were aged 16-124. This figure shows how schools are failing young people and why the FE Colleges are not able to focus on Level 3 and above (as outlined in the Skills Barometer)
  • Since the start of the ES Strategy in 2002/03 – there have been 501,853 enrolments – of which 359,216 are young people aged 16-24 (72%).   The breakdown is 40% Numeracy, 40% Literacy and 20% ICT courses e.g. a focus on FE ‘picking up pieces’ where young people have left school without their English or Maths GCSEs

HIGHER EDUCATION LEVELS ONLY

(e.g. Level 4 and above)

Higher Education Enrolments

  • 11,631 enrolments on HE courses.  
  • 38.5% Full Time, 61.5% Part Time
  • 52% Female / 48% Male
  • Most are studying at Level 4 and 5  - e.g. HNC, HND or Foundation  Degrees. 
  • Level 4 (32%), Level 5 (62%), Level 6 (6%)
  • 2015/16 - There are 63,135 NI students on HE courses in NI – of which 11,631 (18%) are studying in a FE college e.g. 1 in 5  (Source: HE in FE)

Outcomes

  • Stats for 2015-16 show that 84% of all FE leavers go into employment/further learning within 6 months of completing their course (Source: FE Leaver Report).
  • 95% said their course has had a ‘positive impact’ on them.
  • More specifically:
    • 37% go into learning (of which 82% progressed to a higher level of course)
    • 47% go into employment
    • As a comparator 88% studying at a HEI go into similar destinations (Source: HE Leavers Survey)

SCHOOL STATS

From Dep Education

  • In NI there are 201 post primary schools serving 140,000 pupils (this figure is expected to increase to 152,000 by 2025) Source: DE stats
  • Of these 201 post primary schools:
    • 35 schools (17%) have no sixth form and 166 have a sixth form (83%)
    • Of the 166 schools with a sixth form:
      • 122 schools (73%) have >100 pupils in their sixth form
      • While 44 schools (27%) have <100 pupils.  It should be noted that 11 schools have less than 50 pupils in their sixth form.
      • 30% of pupils  left school without 5 or more GCSEs at grade A* to C (inc GCSE English and Maths) (2016/17). This is an improvement from 32% in previous year (Source: 2016/17  School Stats)
      • In Year 12 there were 19,938 pupils in schools and this 30% figures equates to circa 5,980 students. Schools are failing nearly 6,000 pupils per year
        • In the non grammar schools 50% of pupils left school without 5 or more GCSEs at grade A* to C (inc GCSE English and Maths) (2016/17).  This is an improvement on 53% in the previous year (Source: 2016/17  School Stats)
        • This is a 2.4% improvement on the 2015/16 stats - which coincides with the continuation of a range of DE programmes specifically targeting the literacy and numeracy of young people in those schools serving our most disadvantaged pupils – however, more still needs to be done!
        • The 2016-17 – 15% of pupils dropped out of school between lower and upper sixth year – this is 2,464 pupils – who would have been better served by attending an FE College following their GCSEs (Source: School Stats 16-17). 
          • In 13 schools this figure was over 40% in terms of drop outs after one year of AS Level
          • Over the four year period 2013/14 to 2016/17 the average drop-out rate is 14%.(Source: DE Annual Enrolment Data by School)

WORKING AGE STATS

ONS Statistics  (Source: ONS stats)

  • In 2016 - 16% of NI working age population had no formal qualifications – this compares to a UK average of 8% 
  • Ten years ago NI was 23% and UK average was 14%)
  • The UK average has fallen every year over last decade and NI is still not even at the 2006 UK average level  Source: ONS ten year stats

[1] All Enrolments accounts for Regulated and Non Regulated Enrolments

[2] Regulated Enrolments are those enrolments at Level 3 and below on RQR and all Level 4 and above – e.g. Excludes all Hobby / Leisure Courses