Please note that ETF will not be collecting data for SIR going forwards. The Department for Education will be getting in touch with stakeholders regarding the future plans for SIR.

Welcome to the first in a series of 'data insight' blogs from the Education and Training Foundation based on the national FE workforce data report for 2015/16.

If you are reading this blog, you probably know about the national FE workforce data service, SIR Data Insights, but 'in a nutshell' it collects workforce data from across the FE sector to inform government policy and the plans of representative sector bodies. The name 'SIR' refers to the Staff Individualised Record, the anonymised staff contract data which forms the core of the data collection.  The FE workforce data service was completely redeveloped and relaunched last year, providing new analytic tools to learning providers in return for contributing data.

To set the scene for our blog, we need to clarify two important 'firsts' for the 2015/16 data collection: 1) For the first time, the service collected data at individual staff contract level from all types of provider in the sector, not just colleges; 2) For the first time in many years, the data collection captured information on teacher qualifications and continuous professional development (CPD).  It's this aspect that we are focusing on now.

What does the 2015/16 data show about CPD in the sector? The initial view appears to be encouraging, showing that, on average, full-time teachers in the FE sector spend 15 hours per year on CPD.

Less encouraging is the fact that more than half of teachers in the sector report spending no time at all on CPD. For the Education and Training Foundation with a remit to support CPD in the sector, this is concerning.

If providers reporting zero time spent on CPD for the vast majority of staff are excluded from the analysis, the average time spent on CPD activities for teachers increases to 29 hours. There are variations between different types of provider: In colleges the figure is marginally lower at 28 hours and in independent training providers it is higher at 41 hours.

There is also a considerable amount of variation across different subject areas.  Again, excluding providers who report zero CPD, staff in both Humanities and Agriculture, Horticulture and Animal Care report spending the least time on CPD, whereas those in involved in Family Learning report the most, with a variation of 29 hours per annum between the two extremes.  Details of the subject areas with most and fewest reported CPD hours are shown below:

Subject area                                                            Average CPD hours per year

Family learning                                                        48

Health, public services and care                           37

Mathematics                                                            36


Engineering and manufacturing technologies    24

Humanities                                                                19

Agriculture, horticulture and animal care            19

What does this tell us? Potentially, that investment in CPD is likely to relate to a necessity or incentive around national issues such as safeguarding concerns or the effort to improve Maths results.  It would be interesting to look in more detail at the underlying data around CPD in Family learning and Health, public services and care.

Does this sound familiar or completely different to your provider? Our analysis is based on the data provided, and it is used by government and sector bodies to make decisions about support for the workforce. The more data we have, the more accurate the analysis and therefore the decisions. If you have any questions about how to complete this field, or need support completing your data return, please contact our help desk by email: or phone: 0345 833 9040.

To find out more about the 2015/16 data analysis, you can download the latest workforce data report, which has been recently published: Further Education Workforce Data for England, Analysis of the 2015-2016Staff Individualised Record (SIR) data, Frontier Economics, June 2017.

For more information on the national FE workforce data service, please visit the SIR Data Insights website at:

Please note, the data collection period for 2016/17 workforce data has now started. We are asking all providers funded through the Education and Skills Funding Agency to register and submit data.  Our friendly help desk staff are ready to assist by email: or phone: 0345 833 9040, so please get in contact.

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