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Home > News > April 2007 > 18 April 2007

Record success rates in Further Education, says LSC

According to the Learning and Skills Council (LSC), success rates in the Further Education sector increased dramatically in 2005/06, beating a number of Government targets.

The LSC's figures show the success rate target for FE colleges has been passed two years early, with rates increasing by 2 percentage points to 77 per cent in 2005/06, which exceeds the LSC's target of achieving a 76 per cent success rate by 2007/08. This means that for every 100 courses started, 77 result in a qualification being achieved.

The LSC says there have also been significant improvements made in the number of young people completing Apprenticeships. According to the figures, success rates for full Apprenticeship programmes have increased by 13 percentage points over one year from 40 per cent in 2004/05 to 53 per cent for 2005/06. The LSC believes Work Based Learning success rates are now within striking distance of 59 per cent, which is the 2007/08 target.

The figures show full Level 2 success rates for 16-18 year olds are up by 5 percentage points to 66 per cent and for adults by 6 percentage points to 65 per cent.

The figures were contained in a Statistical First Release which gives details on learner outcomes (success, retention and achievement rates) for the academic year 2005/06.

Mark Haysom, chief executive of the LSC, said: "These figures show the massive achievement that all those in the further education sector have made in driving up quality in post-16 education and training. Over the last six years, success rates in FE colleges have risen by over 20 percentage points from 56 per cent in 1999/2000 to the present level of 77 percent.

"Behind the figures lies the real story, which is that more and more young people and adults are getting the qualifications that they need to succeed in life. Getting these vital qualifications can make a real and lasting difference to people's lives. I would like to congratulate all of our partners in the sector, learners and employers for their hard work."

Minister for lifelong learning, further and higher education, Bill Rammell, said: "This Government is transforming Further Education. In just 6 years success rates in colleges have risen by over 20 per cent and now over three-quarters of all students are achieving qualifications. We are working with employers, communities and the FE system to create a culture of learning. The increase in success rates shows colleges and providers are responding positively to the skills challenges we face.

"Success rates are rising due both to better retention and higher achievement. To build on this and meet the aspirations set out in last year's review of skills by Lord Leitch we are working towards meeting stretching targets and pushing for further improvement. For 2010/11 we are looking to achieve success rates of 80 per cent in colleges.

"We are focussing increasingly on our priority to give people the skills they need for employability. We have reached our interim target of 1 million adults achieving their first full Level 2 qualification (equivalent to 5 GCSEs) and this is good news for the economy. More people than ever are also getting their first adult literacy and numeracy qualifications.

"Investment in our new national employer programme, Train to Gain will increase by £300 million between 2005-06 and 2007-08, so that by 2007-08 we will be investing £460 million. This programme is key to improving the skills of our workforce and benefiting the economy and the numbers of employees gaining qualifications through Train to Gain will rise significantly.

"We have increased investment in FE by a massive 48 per cent in real terms since 1997. Adult education funding will increase by 7 per cent between 2005-06 and 2007-08, with funding for young people increasing by 13 per cent over the same period. This country can and will raise its productivity to compete and the rising success rates are testament to this."

Ioan Morgan, chair of the 157 Group and principal of Warwickshire College said: "This is good news for learners in Further Education and for employers. It demonstrates that FE colleges are delivering and this news will help to raise the reputation of FE colleges.

"These record success rates are something that colleges can be justly proud of. But we are not complacent. We must make sure that every FE provider is delivering these levels of success rates for their learners and that we carry on improving success rates. We recognise that the Leitch ambitions require much more of colleges but buildingon this track record, colleges are ready for the challenge."

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