Based on the latest figures for 2016-17 published by Scottish Funding Council, Scotland’s Further Education college sector has delivered across a range of indicators which show that they are fulfilling their essential role in providing meaningful access to the disabled, those from the most derived areas, those from ethnic minorities, older students and those who are, or have been, care givers.
In 2016, the proportion of learning hours allocated to these groups increased to a record high.
In addition, these colleges continued to play a crucial role in providing access to Higher Education through their articulation agreements with universities and by so doing, considerably reducing the, often prohibitive, travel and accommodation costs for many local students. Around 30% of Scotland’s HE provision, for Year 1 and 2 students, takes place in local FE colleges.
Here are the statistics from the funding council report:
- In 2016-17 97.4% of learning hours were delivered on courses that led to a recognised qualification – an 8.7 percentage point increase since 2006-07.
- For those aged 25 and older, the number of funded full-time enrolments has increased by 41.9% (to 19,175), since 2006-07.
- 17.2% of all credits (a proxy for learning hours) were delivered to students from the 10% most deprived areas in 2016-17 – an increase of 0.3 percentage points from 2015-16.
- 17.1% of all learning hours were delivered to students with a declared disability in 2016-17 – an increase of 0.3 percentage points from 2015-16.
- The proportion of learning hours delivered to students from BME backgrounds is at its highest level ever – 6.4% in 2016-17.
- The proportion of credits delivered to students reporting a care-experienced background reached 1.6% in 2016-17, the highest on record.
I’m not sure how these data fit in with the opposition wails that the FE sector was being damaged by the SNP.