The Department for the Economy has today published an Official Statistics bulletin entitled Further Education Sector Activity in Northern Ireland: 2017/18 to 2021/22.
This statistical bulletin presents a range of analysis regarding enrolments and students (both regulated and non-regulated) in the Northern Ireland Further Education (FE) Sector, covering academic years 2017/18 to 2021/22.
This analysis covers the characteristics of those enrolling in FE Colleges across a range of variables, including: sex; age; mode of attendance; provision area; level of study; subject area; deprivation; funding stream; higher education; and performance (retention, achievement and success rates).
The key points include:
- Following a decline of 57,978 (37.3 per cent) between 2017/18 (155,510) and 2020/21 (97,532), including a 34,822 (26.3 per cent) drop between 2019/20 and 2020/21, the number of FE College enrolments increased by 13,301 (13.6 per cent) in 2021/22, to 110,833. While much of this recent increase related to part-time study and to students aged 25 and over, overall enrolments continued to be impacted by a longer-term decrease in part-time enrolments, the relatively low number of 16-19 year-olds and pandemic-related GCSE and GCE grading arrangements.
- Over the period 2017/18 to 2021/22, the regulated share of enrolments has decreased in net terms, from 83.0 per cent to 82.5 per cent.
- Of the 91,403 FE Sector regulated enrolments in 2021/22, over four-fifths (83.2 per cent) were at Level 2 (equivalent to GCSE A*-C) or above.
- Higher Education enrolments at FE Colleges have decreased by 17.4 per cent, from 11,848 in 2017/18 to 9,782 in 2021/22.
- Over a third (35.7 per cent) fewer qualifications were awarded in FE Colleges in 2021/22 (53,229) than in 2017/18 (82,770).
- Over the period 2017/18 to 2021/22, net increases have occurred in the rates for achievement (85.3 per cent to 86.6 per cent) and success (77.0 per cent to 77.3 per cent), whereas the retention rate has decreased in net terms (90.3 per cent to 89.3 per cent).
- After falling by 21,943 (28.2 per cent) between 2017/18 (77,914) and 2020/21 (55,971), most noticeably between 2019/20 and 2020/21, the number of FE College students increased by 5,725 (10.2 per cent) in 2021/22, to 61,696.
Explanatory guidance notes:
- Retention rate is defined as the percentage of final year regulated enrolments completed by students.
- Achievement rate relates to the percentage of final year regulated enrolments completed by students who achieve a qualification.
- Success rate is recognised as the overall measure of performance, which is the percentage of final year regulated enrolments of students who complete and achieve a qualification.
- The FE Sector Activity bulletin and other information is available to download, including an infographic and tables, on the DfE website.
Notes to editors:
1. For media enquiries contact the Department for the Economy Press Office at email@example.com
2. To keep up to date with news from the Department you can follow us on the following social media channels:
- Twitter – @Economy_NI
- Facebook – @EconomyNI
- Skills to Succeed Facebook
- Instagram – economy_ni
- LinkedIn – Department for the Economy NI
3. The Executive Information Service operates an out-of-hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.
- Temporary governing body chair appointed at Belfast Metropolitan College 21 September 2023
- Economic Output Statistics 14 September 2023
- Labour market statistics 12 September 2023
- Co. Down director agrees to disqualification 11 September 2023