Further education participation
Last updated 1 March 2018 - see all updates
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- 1. Navigate to Main facts and figures section
- 2. Navigate toNumber of further education participants by ethnicity over time section
- 3. Navigate toPercentage of further education participants by ethnicity over time section
- 4. Navigate toFurther education participants by ethnicity, compared with the overall population by ethnicity section
- 5. Navigate to Methodology section
- 6. Navigate to Data sources section
- 7. Navigate to Download the data section
1. Main facts and figures
between 2002/03 and 2015/16, the percentage of further education (FE) participants who were from ethnic minority groups (excluding White minorities) increased from 13.3% to 19.6%
in the same period, the number of people participating in FE among ethnic minority groups (excluding White minorities) increased by 2%, from 627,000 to 642,000
total FE participation fell by 30% from 4.7 million in 2002/03 to 3.3 million in 2015/16, with the number of learners from a White background falling by 32% from 3.8 million to 2.6 million over the same period
in 2015, 78.2% of FE participants were from a White background, which is lower than their share of the overall population (84.6%)
Things you need to know
Data from 2002/03 to 2010/11 was collected differently from that collected after 2011, so is not directly comparable to the data for 2011/12 to 2015/16.
This methodology change also means that apprenticeship start numbers are overrepresented by an estimated 1% to 2% for reporting periods from 2002/03 to 2010/11.
Between 2002/03 and 2006/07, ethnicity data for learners on Employer Training Pilots was not collected. This means there is a difference between the data reported here and the total FE numbers reported by the Department for Education.
What the data measures
This data measures the number of people taking part in further education, broken down by ethnicity.
Each reporting period covers an academic year, which runs from 1 August to 31 July.
Further education includes:
- classroom and work-based learning
- community learning
- learning by offenders
It is offered by a range of providers, including further education colleges and external institutions. The data only includes people funded by the government.
A person studying on more than one course with a single provider is counted once. A person who studies with more than one provider in an academic year will be counted separately at each. In that case they will be counted as 2 or more participants.
To provide additional context, the percentage of people participating in further education by ethnic group has been compared to population estimates (2015) published by the Office for National Statistics.
The ethnic categories used in this data
Data from 2011/12 onwards has been classified using the 5 standardised ethnic groups based on the 2011 Census. Data collected before 2011 has been reclassified to the 2011 Census definitions. However it is not directly comparable with data from 2011/12 onwards because of the different methodology used.
The 5 categories used are:
- Asian/Asian British
- Black/African/Caribbean/Black British
- Mixed/Multiple ethnic groups
- Other ethnic group
2. Number of further education participants by ethnicity over time
|Year||All||Asian||Black||Mixed||White||Other||Unknown||Ethnic minority (excl. White minorities)|
Download table data for ‘Number of further education participants by ethnicity over time’ (CSV) Source data for ‘Number of further education participants by ethnicity over time’ (CSV)
Summary of Further education participation Number of further education participants by ethnicity over time Summary
This data shows that:
overall, participation in further education (FE) peaked in 2004/05 at 5.6 million
participation in FE by ethnic minority groups (excluding White minorities) peaked in 2008/09, at 832,000, while participation by White learners peaked in 2004/05 at 4.5 million
since 2004/05, overall FE participation has fallen by 41%, while participation among ethnic minority groups (excluding White minorities) has fallen by 19% – against this trend, participation from people with Mixed ethnicity increased by 22%
3. Percentage of further education participants by ethnicity over time
|Year||Asian||Black||Mixed||White||Other||Unknown||Ethnic minority (excl. White minorities)|
Download table data for ‘Percentage of further education participants by ethnicity over time’ (CSV) Source data for ‘Percentage of further education participants by ethnicity over time’ (CSV)
Summary of Further education participation Percentage of further education participants by ethnicity over time Summary
This data shows that:
between 2002/03 and 2015/16, the percentage of further education (FE) participants who were from ethnic minority groups (excluding White minorities) increased over time
in 2015/16, 78.2% of FE participants were White, 8.3% were Asian, 6.3% were Black, 2.9% had Mixed ethnicity, and 2.1% were from the Other ethnic group
4. Further education participants by ethnicity, compared with the overall population by ethnicity
|Ethnicity||FE learners||Population (2015 estimate)|
Download table data for ‘Further education participants by ethnicity, compared with the overall population by ethnicity’ (CSV) Source data for ‘Further education participants by ethnicity, compared with the overall population by ethnicity’ (CSV)
Summary of Further education participation Further education participants by ethnicity, compared with the overall population by ethnicity Summary
This data shows that:
in 2015/16, 78.2% of further education (FE) participants were White, while people from the White ethnic group made up 84.6% of the overall population
Black learners made up 6.3% of all FE participants, while people from the Black ethnic group made up 3.7% of the overall population
learners from the Other ethnic group made up 2.1% of all FE participants, while people from the same group made up 1.1% of the overall population
This data is based on the individualised learner record (ILR), which is submitted by further education (FE) providers to the ESFA.
The ILR uses administrative data collected about learners by FE providers.
Data about learners' demographics and the type of learning they're doing is used by ESFA to allocate funding. Ethnicity data is completed by the learner, and no adjustments are made by the learning provider.
Data on learners that forms part of the Employer Ownership Pilot (EOP) is gathered from employers in the same format as the ILR and included in the ILR dataset.
Suppression rules and disclosure control
Participant numbers have been rounded to the nearest 10 to avoid identification of individuals.
Numbers less than 5 have been suppressed.
Participant numbers are rounded to the nearest 10.
Quality and methodology information
6. Data sources
FE data library: further education and skills
Type of data
Type of statistic
Education and Skills Funding Agency
Purpose of data source
Data about people in further education and their type of learning is used by Education and Skills Funding Agency to allocate funding for further education.
7. Download the data
This file contains the following: ethnicity, year, value, numerator and denominator