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Executive summary

Purpose

1. This document is the third publication providing widening participation (WP) and non-continuation indicators, and the second publication of employment indicators, for higher education (HE) provision registered at HEFCE-funded further education colleges (FECs) in England.

2. Interactive graphs accompany this document, and provide more detailed data relating to some of the trends and indicators discussed here.

Key points

3. We anticipate that this information will be relevant to FECs and to those interested in the participation, retention and employment of HE students at FECs, and of interest more widely across the higher education sector.

4. This report and the accompanying data provide information regarding HE students in two academic years (2011-12 and 2012-13 for the WP and employment indicators, and 2010-11 and 2011-12 for the non-continuation indicators), with the aim of bringing these publications closer to alignment with the UK Performance Indicators in Higher Education (UKPIs), published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) at www.hesa.ac.uk/pis.

5. At the time of publication, HESA’s publication of UKPIs includes WP and employment indicators for the 2013-14 cohort, and non-continuation indicators for the 2012-13 cohort: HEFCE intends to publish higher education indicators for further education colleges for these more recent cohorts during 2016.

6. The indicators in this report are derived from data submitted to the Data Service’s Individualised Learner Record and the HESA student record for the academic years 2010-11, 2011-12 and 2012-13, and to the Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey for the academic years 2011-12 and 2012-13.

7. Four tables, two of them drawing on successive iterations of the Participation of Local Areas (POLAR) classification, accompany this document as separate files. There are two sets of each table, one for each academic year.

  • Table 1 – POLAR2 shows the profile of young full-time HE entrants from low-participation neighbourhoods (LPNs) registered at FECs in 2011-12 and 2012-13, based on the POLAR2 classification
  • Table 1 – POLAR3 shows the profile of young full-time HE entrants from low-participation neighbourhoods registered at FECs in 2011-12 and 2012-13, based on the POLAR3 classification
  • Table 2 shows the breakdown of non-continuation following year of entry, for full-time entrants registered at FECs in 2010-11 and 2011-12
  • Table E1 shows the proportions of full-time leavers obtaining an HE qualification in 2011-12 and 2012-13 who progressed to work or further study.

8. Each individual FEC’s data is compared with a sector-adjusted average. The methods used to calculate the indicators and sector-adjusted averages are intended to be as consistent as possible with the UKPIs published by HESA.

9. FECs continue to achieve higher rates in performance indicators relating to the proportion of their entrants who are from LPNs, when compared to HEIs. They also have improved performance indicators related to non-continuation and employment compared to the previous two years, although their rates are still lower than HEIs.

10. Four annexes accompany this document, and a further two accompany the data tables.

  • Annex A1: Technical definitions (2012-13 for Tables 1 and E1, 2011-12 for Table 2)
  • Annex B1: Full specification for Table 1, Table 2 and Table E1 (2012-13 for Tables 1 and E1, 2011-12 for Table 2)
  • Annex C: Outline of overall linking process
  • Annex D: Definition of terms
  • Annex A2: Technical definitions (2011-12 for Tables 1 and E1, 2010-11 for Table 2)
  • Annex B2: Full specification for Table 1, Table 2 and Table E1 (2011-12 for Tables 1 and E1, 2010-11 for Table 2). 

Action required

11. This document is for information only.

Date: 10 February 2016

Ref: HEFCE 2016/01

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

Of interest to those
responsible for:

Student management, Quality assurance, Widening participation, Student outcomes and success

Enquiries should be directed to:

Quantitative Analysis for Policy Team, email qapt@hefce.ac.uk, or Sam Wright, tel 0117 931 7278, email s.wright@hefce.ac.uk.