Further Education Activity

The data presents a range of analysis regarding enrolments in the NI FE Sector covering academic years. The data cover the characteristics of those enrolling in FE colleges and trends across a range of variables including gender, age, mode of attendance, provision area, level of study, subject area, areas of deprivation, funding streams, and performance (retention, achievement and success rates) over various academic years.

Data and Resources

Additional Info

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Creation Date September 17, 2015, 09:36 (UTC)
Topic Category Economy

This data provides information on enrolments at Further Education (FE) colleges in Northern Ireland across academic years.

Data Collection The data has been derived from a series of statistical returns (listed below) provided by FE colleges.  Further Education Statistical Return (FESR)  Further Education Leavers Survey (FELS)  Consolidated Data return (CDR)  Funded Learning Unit (FLU).

The data in regard to 2009/10 to 2012/13 have been derived from the FESR, FELS and FLU. The CDR only came into operation for the 2013/14 academic year and is used for analysis related to this year. Each of the data returns are computerised data files consisting of individual records for each enrolment recorded by FE colleges during each academic year.

Over the last number of years there has been extensive work carried out to develop a CDR, which aims to bring the five main individual Departmental returns from FE colleges, namely FLU, FESR, Essential Skills Enrolment Return (ESER), Entitlement Framework (EF) and FELS, together into a single dataset.

There are significant benefits to be realised in collating all the data requirements of the Department into one single return. Streamlining the production process of data increases the efficiency of the process in generating the data. With extra information now available for each enrolment record, it also increases the potential in terms of analytical ability, whilst increasing the consistency of analysis across all FE college data by reducing the potential of using several datasets. Data quality is also enhanced with data being generated at the same point in time and a significant number of validations employed on the data through the CDR process.

The figures in this statistical bulletin are a full year count of enrolments; however it should be noted that students may be enrolled on more than one course at a given time and will therefore be counted as two or more enrolments. This report includes data relating to the academic years 2009/10 to 2013/14. Data for the previous academic years can be found at:


Data Quality

All data has been validated and quality assured by FE colleges prior to publication. FE colleges are given a set period of time to submit the information to Statistics & Research Branch (SRB). Following submission, SRB perform a series of validation checks to ensure that information is consistent both within and across returns. Trend analyses are used to monitor annual variations and emerging trends. Queries arising from validation checks are presented to FE colleges for clarification and if required, returns may be amended and/or re-submitted. Finally, prior to the publication of this information the data is presented to FE colleges for final sign–off.


Full metadata is available in the excel table link within the metadata tab; http://www.delni.gov.uk/index/statsandresearch/further-education-stats/fe-enrolments/fe-activity-in-fe-colleges-ni.htm

and further definitions and technical notes are available in the pdf document at: http://www.delni.gov.uk/annex-a-fe-activity-statistical-bulletin-0910-to-1314-december-2014-revised-as-at-24th-april-2015.pdf

Frequency of Update Annually
Contact Name Stephen McGonagle
Contact Email stephen.mcgonagle@delni.gov.uk
Additional Information

Further data is available within the statistical publication at: http://www.delni.gov.uk/index/statsandresearch/further-education-stats/fe-enrolments/fe-activity-in-fe-colleges-ni.htm

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