1. Main facts and figures

  • between 2002/3 and 2017/18, the total number of people in further education in England fell by 35%, from 4.7 million in 2002/03 to 3.1 million in 2017/18
  • however, during the same period, the percentage of people in further education who were from the Asian, Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups combined increased from 13.3% to 21.3% (with the number of students from these groups increasing from 627,000 to 652,000)
  • the number of White students fell by 37%, from 3.8 million to 2.4 million
  • in the academic year 2017/18, people from White ethnic groups made up 76.8% of those in further education, and 84.6% of the overall population of England (according to 2017 population estimates from the Office for National Statistics)
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 2017/18.

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 2017 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

2. By ethnicity over time

Percentage and number of people from each ethnic group who were in further education, over time
Asian Black Mixed White Other Unknown
Time % Participants % Participants % Participants % Participants % Participants % Participants
2002/03 6.1 288,230 4.2 198,310 1.1 50,220 79.8 3,754,600 1.9 90,410 6.8 321,540
2003/04 6.0 328,880 4.2 228,550 1.2 66,730 81.5 4,433,090 1.8 99,110 5.2 281,060
2004/05 6.3 349,790 4.6 257,440 1.4 78,290 81.4 4,529,830 1.9 107,760 4.3 240,040
2005/06 6.8 331,740 5.1 250,040 1.6 78,360 81.1 3,968,180 2.0 95,650 3.5 169,950
2006/07 7.1 297,530 5.5 230,010 1.8 77,000 80.5 3,382,000 2.0 84,790 3.1 131,450
2007/08 7.3 318,370 5.7 246,680 1.9 83,390 80.2 3,496,730 1.9 82,010 3.1 133,570
2008/09 7.7 373,890 5.7 274,370 1.9 93,630 80.1 3,873,920 1.9 89,640 2.7 131,650
2009/10 7.8 359,290 5.7 266,330 2.1 95,980 80.2 3,716,760 1.9 90,010 2.3 107,140
2010/11 8.2 349,980 6.1 258,100 2.2 95,430 79.6 3,393,000 1.9 81,280 2.0 87,070
2011/12 8.2 346,860 6.4 267,800 2.5 103,840 79.3 3,342,040 1.9 78,230 1.8 77,840
2012/13 7.9 340,210 6.3 272,870 2.6 111,700 79.2 3,420,430 1.9 80,140 2.2 94,920
2013/14 7.8 306,900 6.2 242,300 2.7 106,660 79.1 3,095,990 1.9 74,580 2.2 87,090
2014/15 8.1 289,230 6.4 228,440 2.9 102,010 78.9 2,821,900 2.0 71,980 1.8 63,300
2015/16 8.3 271,500 6.3 206,750 2.9 95,240 78.2 2,559,790 2.1 68,330 2.2 73,290
2016/17 8.6 271,760 6.6 206,600 3.0 94,650 77.7 2,448,260 2.3 72,720 1.8 58,120
2017/18 9.0 276,510 6.6 202,730 3.1 95,450 76.8 2,350,680 2.5 77,630 1.9 59,000

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

This data shows that:

  • between 2002/03 and 2017/18, the percentage of people in further education who were from the Asian, Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups combined increased from 13.3% to 21.3% – there was a 3 percentage point increase in participants from the Asian group, and a 2 percentage point increase in those from both the Black and Mixed groups
  • since 2004/05, the number of people in further education has fallen by almost half (45%), while participation among ethnic minority groups (excluding White minorities) has fallen by almost one-fifth (18%) – against this trend, participation among people with Mixed ethnicity increased by more than one fifth (22%)
  • 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), when participants from Asian and Black groups reached 373,890 and 274,370 respectively, while the number of White participants peaked in 2004/05 (at 4.5 million)
  • overall, the number of people in further education peaked in 2004/05, at 5.6 million

3. By ethnicity compared with the overall population

Percentage of people from each ethnic group who were in further education, compared with the overall population
Ethnicity FE learners Population (2017 estimate)
Asian 9.0 8.1
Black 6.6 3.6
Mixed 3.1 2.6
White 76.8 84.6
Other 2.5 1.1

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

This data shows that:

  • in 2017/18, White people made up 76.8% of those in further education, and 84.6% of the overall population of England (based on 2017 population estimates from the Office for National Statistics)
  • 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 2.5% of all further education participants, and 1.1% of the overall population

4. Methodology

This data is based on students’ ‘individualised learner records’, which are submitted by further education providers to the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA).

The individualised learner record uses administrative data collected about students by further education providers. It also includes any data from employers that forms part of the employer ownership pilot.

Data about students’ demographics and the type of learning they're doing is used by ESFA to allocate funding. Ethnicity data is completed by the students, and no adjustments are made by the learning provider.

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

5. 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.

Secondary source

Type of data

Survey data

Type of statistic

Official statistics

Publisher

Office for National Statistics

Publication frequency

Ad-hoc

Purpose of data source

These estimates have been produced specifically for use as part of the Race Disparity Audit, following discussion with the Race Disparity Unit of their specific requirements and time-frame.

6. Download the data

Further Education Participation - Spreadsheet (csv) 18 KB

This file contains the following: ethnicity, year, value, numerator and denominator