2019 Further Education and Workforce Data for England report published

The Education and Training Foundation (ETF) has today published its latest Further Education and Workforce Data for England report. The annual publication, which analyses the 2017–18 Staff Individualised Record (SIR) returns, reports on the profile of the sector and its workforce. This year is the sixth annual workforce data report for the ETF and the 26th time the SIR has been collected. The ETF, in its role as the home of independent, impartial and comprehensive research in the FE and training sector, has produced the SIR since 2012–13.

Key findings from SIR 26 are:

  • A growth in the size of every type of college for which data is collected, demonstrated by increased headcount over the past five years. Since SIR 21 (2012–13 data), median headcount at general FE colleges has grown from 571 to 642, at agriculture and horticulture colleges from 321 to 504, at sixth form colleges from 230 to 261, and at specialist designated colleges from 64 to 123. This growth is unsurprising, the report notes, given the large number of mergers that have taken place in the FE sector in recent years.
  • A further increase in the proportion of teachers spending 30 hours or more on CPD a year – 75% in SIR 26, compared with 72% in SIR 25 (2016–17 data) and 57% in SIR 24 (2015–16 data).
  • A slight increase in casual employment, with the proportion of individuals in the survey on permanent contracts decreasing from 78% in SIR 25 (2016–17 data) to 75.7% in SIR 26, and the proportion of casual staff increasing from 7.4% to 9.9%. Additionally, the number of zero hours contracts in the data increased from 3,323 in SIR 25 (2016–17 data) to 3,501 in SIR 26. The use of casual staff is particularly pronounced in in local authorities, where just over 40% of contracts are casual, compared to just 8.3% at colleges.
  • A surge in the number of apprentices being employed compared to last year, with the increase being driven by a significant jump in the number of administration apprentices – from fewer than 500 in SIR 25 (2016–17 data) to more than 700 in SIR 26. As was the case in the last data collection, the vast majority of apprentices are employed in colleges.
  • A small reduction in the gender pay gap compared to last year (down from 9.7% to 9.3% in favour of male employees).
  • A decrease in median teacher pay across all providers, from £31,800 in SIR 25 (2016–17 data) to £31,600 in SIR 26. This continues the trend of falling pay from earlier reports (median pay was £32,500 in 2012–13). However, it should be noted that SIR 21 collected data on teacher pay from colleges only; median teacher pay in colleges in SIR 26 was slightly higher than at other providers, at £31,800. Median teacher pay reported in SIR 26 at ITPs was £26,000 and at local authorities £25,500.
  • The most common level of teaching qualification held remains seven (a PGCE or equivalent), closely followed by five (the level that makes an individual eligible to apply to attain Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills [QTLS] status).
  • The proportions of different types of staff for whom data is included in the SIR are similar to last year. Forty-two per cent of individuals for whom data was submitted were teaching staff, 16% were learner-facing technical staff, and 15% were admin staff. Colleges and local authorities continue to have higher proportions of teachers in their workforces, while independent training providers have a higher proportion of assessors.

Charlynne Pullen, the ETF’s Head of Research and Evaluation, said:

“With more than 90,000 individuals’ information collected for this year’s Workforce Data report, it is the most representative yet. We are also pleased that more than half of the general FE colleges in England are included in the sample. The SIR continues to be the most comprehensive source available for data on the workforce in the FE and Training sector, ensuring that practitioners, providers and policy makers have a firm foundation for decision making. The report highlights trends including fewer, larger colleges following the consolidations that took place as a result of the Area Review process.”

The SIR reflects 90,792 records, up from 72,104 for the 25th collection last year. Data was submitted by 193 providers, including 118 colleges – more than half of the general FE colleges in England.

The full report is available on the Workforce Data and SIR Insights page of the ETF website.

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