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Executive summary


1.   This document presents tables of the numbers of students who are registered at higher education institutions (HEIs) and further education colleges (FECs) in England and are studying for a higher education qualification. Their purpose is to show the geographical area in which the learning takes place. Information is derived from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) data and the Learning and Skills Council Individualised Learner Record (ILR) collections.

Key points

2.   This is the fourth report on the provision of higher education by location, but it cannot be used to investigate trends because the categories and populations we use change as we try to improve the quality and usefulness of the information.

3.   We have excluded duplicate records from the tables. This needs to be done after all institutions have submitted their data to HESA and the ILR, so may result in differences between the tables institutions have seen and those we publish in this document. In particular, if a student is returned by a higher education institution and taught by a further education college, and is also returned by that college, we have excluded the college's return from the tables.

Action required

4.   No action is required; this document is for information only.

Description of the tables

5.   The numbers in the tables should be taken as a guide only. Although we publish these tables annually they do not form a time series and should not be used for analyses of trends. Any dramatic differences between years are likely to be due to changes in definitions or reporting rather than to changes in the sector.

6.   The four tables show student headcounts and full-time equivalents (FTEs) as follows.

  • Table 1: by registering institution; teaching institution; and subject.
  • Table 2: by Government Office region of teaching institution; sub-region; and type of teaching institution.
  • Table 3: by Government Office region of teaching institution; sub-region; subject; mode; and level.
  • Table 4: by teaching institution and campus of institution.

7.   Numbers of students registered at HEIs are based on the HESA standard registration population. Numbers registered at FECs are from the ILR, and the population has been defined so as to mirror that used in HEIs.

8.   Students on distance learning courses, on their sandwich year-out, or studying for research degrees are excluded. The tables include only students that are registered in England. Students franchised to an English institution from outside England are excluded, while students franchised to non-English institutions from an English one are included.

9.   The headcounts for those studying combinations of subjects are not apportioned to the relevant subject areas: each headcount was assigned to one subject area only. However, the FTEs are apportioned. For example, if a student is studying a double subject of mathematics and physics, then their FTE is assigned proportionately to mathematics and to physics, but their headcount is assigned to the dominant subject. Where the subjects are balanced we have used the first subject listed for the headcount.

10.   The headcounts of partially franchised students are not split between the institutions they attend; however, the FTEs are split. This can result in headcounts of zero with FTEs over 20.

11.   Where a student on a particular course was recorded more than once, we have removed records. For example, students returned both by an HEI as franchised to an FEC, and by that FEC, are excluded from the FEC numbers. In all, 5,480 of the HESA records and 3,835 of the ILR records were excluded as duplicates. The tables are about provision rather than student characteristics. This means that we may have counted the same student more than once. This happens where the student is studying for two different qualification aims, or the student studied half the year on one course and the other half of the year on another course.

12.   In the tables, headcounts have been rounded to the nearest five and FTEs to the nearest integer. The names of institutions are those current in February 2009. HEIs are listed first, followed by FECs.

13.   The geographical variables are determined by where a student is taught, not where a student is registered. If an HEI campus is specified, its geographical location is used. We have used the Nomenclature of Units for Territorial Statistics (NUTS) to identify geographical areas. The NUTS was created by the European Office for Statistics (Eurostat) as a single hierarchical classification of spatial units used for statistical production across the European Union. Further details are available from National Statistics.


Provision by location 2006-07 (updated April 2009)

Download the 09_09.xls as MS Excel Spreadsheet (2,615 KB)

Provision by location 2006-07 (updated April 2009)

Download the 09_09.xls as MS Excel Spreadsheet (2,615 KB)

View all downloads

Date: 1 March 2009

Ref: 2009/09

To: Heads of HEFCE-funded further education colleges, Heads of HEFCE-funded higher education institutions

Of interest to those
responsible for:

Student data, Audit, Finance, Planning

Enquiries should be directed to:

Andrew Breeze, tel 0117 931 7375, e-mail