On 16th June 2017, the Education and Training Foundation published its annual workforce data report for 2015/16. The report provides an analysis of data collected through the national FE work data service, SIR Data Insights, for the 2015/16 academic year. This blog explains the context for the report and summarises the key findings.


On 16th June 2017, the Education and Training Foundation published its annual workforce data report  for 2015/16 highlighting trends in staffing numbers, pay and demographics across all provider types in the English Further Education (FE) and Training sector.

This report is based on data collected through the national FE workforce data service, SIR Data Insights. Anonymised data is collected at individual staff contract level on all staff - teaching and non-teaching - covering staff demographics (such as age, gender, ethnicity, disability and sexual orientation), staff occupation and pay, subjects taught and geographical location. 

The analysis presented in the annual workforce data report gives a descriptive account of the staff working in the FE sector in 2015-16 and, where possible, draws out comparisons of the workforce across different provider types, with previous years and with the school workforce. In addition to the descriptive account of the FE workforce, the 2015/16 report includes some additional analysis looking at the characteristics of senior managers in the sector and how these have evolved over time. 

This report based on the annual FE workforce data collection provides valuable insights for practitioners, providers, and policy makers ensuring they have robust and high quality data to support decision-making. It is part of the evidence base for policy making to support the sector as effectively as possible.

In 2015/16, information was gathered from 175 providers who provided returns on 66,061 staff contracts. For the first time, data was collected at individual staff contract level from local authorities, independent training providers and third sector providers, alongside FE, sixth form and specialist colleges. 

Also for the first time since 2011, data was captured on teacher qualifications and continuous professional development (CPD) which is key to understanding, improving and championing the sector's teaching and training profession.

The main findings of the 2015/16 report confirm a well-qualified workforce overall, with around three-quarters of teachers holding a qualification:

  • The most commonly held teaching qualifications are the Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE), covering 22% of teachers, Certificate of Education, covering 14% of teachers and Level 5 Diploma in Education and Training, covering 11% of teachers. 
  • A third of teachers hold their main subject area qualifications at QCF Level 6 with another quarter holding main subject area qualifications at QCF Level 7 or higher.
  • On average, full-time teachers spend 15 hours on CPD but many teachers (more than half) report no time spent on CPD.

Key findings on staffing numbers and pay include: 

  • The sector is shrinking, although has stayed generally the same in terms of composition. The FE workforce has been declining at an average rate of around 3% per year. Between 2011-12 and 2014-15, the number of full-time equivalent employees in FE Colleges fell by 12,300.
  • The FE workforce remains predominantly white (86%) and older than the school teaching workforce. Over half of the staff in the FE sector are over the age of 45, indicating that FE continues to be a second career for many. Women account for 64% of all staff, 58% of teaching staff and 53% of senior managerial roles.
  • Senior manager numbers have fallen faster than other parts of the sector (by approximately 13% over the last three years) and now account for around 1.4% of the workforce.
  • Average pay has increased slightly: median pay for full-time staff across all occupational groups in FE colleges is £26,609, while the figure is £32,000 for college teachers. Median pay is highest for senior managers, with those earning between £70,000 - £80,000 experiencing the most significant increase in pay. 

You can download a full copy of the annual workforce data report 2015/16 on this website, or you can visit the Foundation's website to access reports from previous years alongside the current report.

Over the coming weeks, we will be publishing a series of 'Data Insights' on this website exploring some of the key findings from the 2015/16 report in more detail.

Data collection for the 2016/17 academic year runs from 1st July to 31st October 2017.  Information on how to submit data is available on this website.  All FE providers funded through the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) are requested to register and submit workforce data through the SIR Data Insights service. If you have any queries, please contact our friendly help desk service on email: support@sirdatainsights.org.uk or tel: 0345 833 9040.  

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