1. Main points
During 2018/19, staff numbers directly employed by further education (FE) institutions in Wales amounted to 8,755 full time equivalents (FTEs).
The overall number of FTE staff directly employed by FE institutions in Wales rose by 3% between 2017/18 and 2018/19.
There were increases in FTE staff numbers in 9 of the 13 FE institutions to varying degrees but the largest increase was at Grŵp NPTC, where there was an increase of 130 FTE staff (an 18% increase). Coleg Gwent showed a fall of 40 in FTE staff numbers (4%).
2. Staff full-time equivalents at further education institutions
Chart 1 shows the distribution of FTE staff across FE institutions in 2018/19. During 2018/19, staff numbers amounted to 8,755 FTEs. The number of staff at individual institutions varied, from 105 FTEs at Saint David’s Catholic College to 1,290 FTEs at Grŵp Llandrillo Menai.
3. Changes in full-time equivalent staff numbers
The overall number of FTE staff directly employed by FE institutions rose to a peak of 9,330 in 2012/13, after which it decreased year-on-year, reaching a low of 7,815 in 2015/16.
Over the last three years, the number of FTE staff has begun to increase, with a 3% increase in the most recent year to stand at 8,755 FTE staff.
The number of FTE staff increased at nine institutions in 2018/19 compared to 2017/18, with the largest increase occurring at Grŵp NPTC and Grŵp Llandrillo Menai.
The total number of FTE staff fell at four institutions, the largest proportions being at Coleg Gwent and Saint David's Catholic College, where numbers fell by about 4% at both.
4. Full-time equivalent staff numbers by pay expenditure category
The ‘teaching and learning departments’ category continues to have the largest number of FTE staff directly employed by FE institutions, amounting to 58% of total FTEs, a slight decrease from 59% in the previous year.
‘Teaching and learning support services’ saw a 5% decrease in 2018/19 and constitutes 9% of all FTEs. When combined, the ‘teaching and learning departments’ and ‘teaching and learning support services’ categories make up 68% of total FTEs, a slight fall from 69% in 2017/18.
The largest contributor to the overall rise in staff FTE numbers since 2015/16 is the ‘teaching and learning departments’ category (up 305, or 6%). Despite the increase, numbers in this category are yet to return to levels seen prior to 2015/16. The largest percentage increase since 2015/16 was seen in the ‘administration and central services’ category, up 26%. In 2018/19, the increase was mainly due to Teaching and Learning Departments (up 110) and Other (up 130).
This statistical first release provides information on the number of FTE staff directly employed by further education (FE) institutions at any time during the academic year 2018/19. The data used in this release are collected from the institutions by the Welsh Government via the Finance Record, as has been the case since 2009/10. Earlier releases were sourced from the Staff Individualised Record (SIR). The SIR collection was suspended after 2008/09 owing to a prioritisation of statistical activity at that time and in order to reduce the burden of two separate data collections.
The FTE staff data are used for monitoring and to inform strategy development. Furthermore, the data provide the official source of statistics on post-16 education staff in Wales.
The FTE staff data are collected as part of the Finance Record. The Finance Record is primarily a financial return supplied to the Welsh Government by FE institutions and comprises a replica of their financial statements. Where FE colleges have merged, the figures represent the position following the merger and constituent institutions are not identified separately from the academic year of the merger onwards.
The Education Workforce Council is an additional source of information on staff in Further Education institutions.
The academic years used throughout this release refer to the period 1 August to 31 July.
Staff FTE figures are as supplied directly from the Further Education institutions via the Finance Record.
All figures in this Statistical Release have been rounded to the nearest multiple of 5, and therefore there may be slight discrepancies between the sum of the constituent rows/columns and the given totals. A ‘.’ means that a data item is not applicable, and an asterisk represents a non-zero value less than 5.
6. Quality and methodology information
This section provides a summary of information on this output against five dimensions of quality: Relevance, Accuracy, Timeliness and Punctuality, Accessibility and Clarity, and Comparability.
The measures set out in this publication are primarily used:
- by the Welsh Government to monitor the staff numbers in FE institutions
- by education providers themselves, as a management tool to monitor staff levels
- unions and other representative bodies of education providers.
The data are also used both within and outside the Welsh Government to monitor staff FTE trends. Some of the key users are:
- ministers and officials in the Welsh Government
- Members of the Senedd and the Members Research Service in the Welsh Parliament
- other government departments
- students, researchers, and academics
- individual citizens, private companies, and the media.
The statistics are used in a variety of ways. Some examples of these are:
- general background and research
- inclusion in reports and briefings
- advice to ministers
- to inform and evaluate the education policy-making process in Wales.
Data in releases up to the 2008/09 were sourced from the Staff Individualised Record (SIR). This collection was suspended following the 2008/09 publication and the Finance Record collection has been used as the data source for releases from 2009/10 onwards. Following this change, data within this series is now taken from the Finance Record for all years replacing data up to 2008/09 sourced from the SIR. Quality information around this change can be found in previous versions of this release.
The level of change seen between 2016/17 and 2017/18 was influenced by Cardiff and Vale Colleges acquisition of the shareholding of ACT Ltd during October 2016 and ALS Ltd during January 2018.
The 2016/17 accounts only included a proportion of ACT staff numbers due to the acquisition occurring part way through the year. 2017/18 staff numbers included the full year impact, hence the increase. ACT Ltd and ALS Ltd are now wholly owned subsidiaries of the college. The acquisition of various WBL providers by colleges is likely to have been a factor seen across the years.
Institution level comparisons of staff numbers by pay expenditure category (Chart 3) should be made with caution, due to local interpretation of categories and other institutional differences. For example the split between Teaching and Learning Departments and Teaching and Learning Support Services may reflect the different style of teaching in each college. In some instances, instructors and demonstrators may be included under Teaching and Learning Support Services.
Timeliness and punctuality
Statistics on a given academic year are drawn from the Finance Record, following the end of the academic year and are currently published in May of the following year.
Accessibility and clarity
This statistical release is pre-announced and then published on the Statistics section of the Welsh Government website. The full time series is available through StatsWales.
Data for previous years
Previous editions of this release covering the academic years 2003/04 to 2017/18 can all be found under the past releases tab for this publication. We have changed the format of this year’s release to present the information in clearer, more streamlined way. The data included in the tables that formed part of previous editions of this release is all available through StatsWales.
Data for Merthyr Tydfil College (MTC) were not collected between the academic years 2006/07 and 2011/12 following its merger with the University of Glamorgan (now part of the University of South Wales) in 2006. For those years these data were included in publications for higher education statistics. For 2012/13 onwards, data from MTC has reverted to publication as part of further education statistics and so those data are present in this release from that point onwards. Any comparisons between academic years before and after this point take account of this.
Other publications of Further Education staff numbers
The Education Workforce Council (EWC) produces annual statistics on all EWC registered practitioners. Further education teachers have been required to register with the EWC since 1 April 2015, and FE (and school) learning support workers since April 2016.
The figures published by the EWC for FE are not directly comparable to those in this release. The EWC information contains a headcount of all those registered at a given snapshot date, whereas this release provides all staff FTE numbers across the academic year. The current EWC data relates to the position at March 2018 and records 5,844 registered Further Education teachers and 2,554 FE learning support workers. This data provides a useful source of information on the gender and age distribution of FE teachers and support staff, which is not available from the finance record data on which this release is based.
Data for the rest of the United Kingdom
Examples of the use of data on staff at further education institutions in Scotland and England can be found on the websites of the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) and the Education and Training Foundation respectively:
However, due to differences in methodology and data collection, caution should be exercised in making direct comparisons with the figures contained within this release.
Information on staff at FE institutions across the UK can be found in table 2.1 the following statistical release, which contains information on staff at English, Welsh and Scottish FE institutions:
Other related data for Further Education institutions
Data on learner enrolments at Further Education institutions, along with information on work-based learning and community learning, can be found in this publication:
More detailed information on delivery at further education institutions from 2012/13 onwards is available on the StatsWales website here: