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Revealed: Further education enrolments 2023/24

10 November 2023

Enrolment survey

The 2023/24 enrolment trends in post-16 education and skills have been revealed in a survey by the Association of Colleges.

The annual survey provides an insight into enrolment of students onto T levels, apprenticeships, adult education courses and GCSE English and maths courses in the 2023/24 academic year, as well as overall numbers of students taking courses in colleges.

A total of 95 colleges responded to the survey, which represents just less than half of the colleges in England. The vast majority (81%) were general further education or tertiary colleges, while 7% each were sixth form and specialist colleges.

Below are some insights from the survey.

  • Most colleges saw an increase in enrolments, compared to the 2022/23 academic year. Around 39% of leaders who responded said their college had seen a growth of 10% or more, while only 6% saw a drop in enrolments.
  • Enrolments in GCSE English and maths were up in more than nine out of 10 colleges, and overall, there has been a percentage increase of 35% in students needing to resit English, and 30% for maths.
  • Around a third of college leaders said their apprenticeship recruitment was on target. One in five colleges saw a drop in apprenticeship enrolments, compared to last year, when 14% of college leaders said they had seen a drop in enrolments.
  • Higher education enrolments were on target in 31% of institutions this year. However, they were below that target in 42% of institutions.
  • More colleges than last year recruited their target number of international students. Only 14% of colleges said their student numbers were below that, and 14% of institutions said they recruited more international students – including EU students on visas – than their target number.
  • Two in five colleges recruited their target number of adult learners – significantly more than the third that did so in 2022-23.
  • Three quarters of colleges recruited on or beyond their target enrolment number for ESOL learners – with 18% seeing growth of 20% or more. Last year, by comparison, 43% of colleges recruited to or beyond their target number.

You can read the full report here.