Further education participation

The main facts and figures show that:

  • between 2002/03 and 2016/17, the percentage of people in further education who were from the Asian, Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups combined increased from 13.3% to 20.5%; the number of people in further education from the same groups went up by 3%, from 627,000 to 646,000
  • during the same period, the total number of people in further education fell by 33%, from 4.7 million in 2002/03 to 3.2 million in 2016/17, and the number of White students fell by 35% from 3.8 million to 2.4 million
  • in 2016/17, people from White ethnic groups made up 77.7% of those in further education, and 84.8% of the overall population of England
Things you need to know

The way data was collected changed in 2011. As a result, data for the period 2002/03 to 2010/11 is not directly comparable to that for 2011/12 to 2016/17.

Between 2002/03 and 2006/07, ethnicity data for people on employer training pilots was not collected. This means there is a difference between the data reported here and the total further education numbers reported by the Department for Education for this period.

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
  • apprenticeships
  • 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 for 2016 published by the Office for National Statistics.

The ethnic categories used in this data

Data has been classified using the 5 standardised ethnic groups based on the 2011 Census.

The 5 categories used are:

  • Asian/Asian British
  • Black/African/Caribbean/Black British
  • Mixed/Multiple ethnic groups
  • White
  • Other ethnic group

Ethnic groups and how data on ethnicity is collected

Number of people in further education by ethnicity over time

Number of people in further education by ethnicity over time

Time All Asian Black Mixed White Other Unknown
Participants Participants Participants Participants Participants Participants Participants
2002/03 4,703,310 288,230 198,310 50,220 3,754,600 90,410 321,540
2003/04 5,437,420 328,880 228,550 66,730 4,433,090 99,110 281,060
2004/05 5,563,150 349,790 257,440 78,290 4,529,830 107,760 240,040
2005/06 4,893,920 331,740 250,040 78,360 3,968,180 95,650 169,950
2006/07 4,202,780 297,530 230,010 77,000 3,382,000 84,790 131,450
2007/08 4,360,750 318,370 246,680 83,390 3,496,730 82,010 133,570
2008/09 4,837,100 373,890 274,370 93,630 3,873,920 89,640 131,650
2009/10 4,635,510 359,290 266,330 95,980 3,716,760 90,010 107,140
2010/11 4,264,860 349,980 258,100 95,430 3,393,000 81,280 87,070
2011/12 4,216,610 346,860 267,800 103,840 3,342,040 78,230 77,840
2012/13 4,320,270 340,210 272,870 111,700 3,420,430 80,140 94,920
2013/14 3,913,520 306,900 242,300 106,660 3,095,990 74,580 87,090
2014/15 3,576,860 289,230 228,440 102,010 2,821,900 71,980 63,300
2015/16 3,274,900 271,500 206,750 95,240 2,559,790 68,330 73,290
2016/17 3,152,110 271,760 206,600 94,650 2,448,260 72,720 58,120

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

This data shows that:

  • overall, the number of people in further education peaked in 2004/05, at 5.6 million
  • the number of people in further education from the Asian, Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups combined reached its highest point in 2008/09 (at 832,000), while the number of White participants peaked in 2004/05 (at 4.5 million)
  • since 2004/05, overall the number of people in further education has fallen by 43%, while participation among ethnic minority groups (excluding White minorities) has fallen by 19% – against this trend, participation among people with Mixed ethnicity increased by 21%

Percentage of people in further education by ethnicity over time

Percentage of people in further education from each ethnic group, over time

Time Asian Black Mixed White Other Unknown
% % % % % %
2002/03 6.1 4.2 1.1 79.8 1.9 6.8
2003/04 6.0 4.2 1.2 81.5 1.8 5.2
2004/05 6.3 4.6 1.4 81.4 1.9 4.3
2005/06 6.8 5.1 1.6 81.1 2.0 3.5
2006/07 7.1 5.5 1.8 80.5 2.0 3.1
2007/08 7.3 5.7 1.9 80.2 1.9 3.1
2008/09 7.7 5.7 1.9 80.1 1.9 2.7
2009/10 7.8 5.7 2.1 80.2 1.9 2.3
2010/11 8.2 6.1 2.2 79.6 1.9 2.0
2011/12 8.2 6.4 2.5 79.3 1.9 1.8
2012/13 7.9 6.3 2.6 79.2 1.9 2.2
2013/14 7.8 6.2 2.7 79.1 1.9 2.2
2014/15 8.1 6.4 2.9 78.9 2.0 1.8
2015/16 8.3 6.3 2.9 78.2 2.1 2.2
2016/17 8.6 6.6 3.0 77.7 2.3 1.8

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

This data shows that:

  • between 2002/03 and 2016/17, the percentage of people in further education who were from the Asian, Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups combined increased from 13.3% to 20.5%
  • in 2016/17, 77.7% of people in further education were White, 8.6% were Asian, 6.6% were Black, 3.0% had Mixed ethnicity, and 2.3% were from the Other ethnic group

Further education participation by ethnicity, compared with the overall population by ethnicity

Percentage of people in further education from each ethnic group, compared with the overall population

Ethnicity Ethnicity FE learners Population (2016 estimate)
Asian Asian 8.6 8.0
Black Black 6.6 3.6
Mixed Mixed 3.0 2.6
White White 77.7 84.8
Other Other 2.3 1.1

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

This data shows that:

  • in 2016/17, people from White ethnic groups made up 77.7% of those in further education, and 84.8% of the overall population of England
  • Black people made up 6.6% of all further education participants, and 3.6% of the overall population
  • people from the Other ethnic group made up 2.3% of all further education participants, and 1.1% of the overall population

Methodology

Methodology

This data is based on the ‘individualised learner record’ (ILR) of people in further education, which collected by further education providers and submitted to the Education and Skills Funding Agency.

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.

Rounding

Participant numbers are rounded to the nearest 10.

Quality and methodology information

Data sources

Source

Type of data

Administrative data

Type of statistic

National Statistics

Publisher

Education and Skills Funding Agency

Publication frequency

Yearly

Purpose of data source

Data about the characteristics of people in further education and their type of learning is used by Education and Skills Funding Agency to allocate funding for further education.

Download the data