During 2019/20, staff numbers directly employed by further education (FE) institutions in Wales amounted to 8,730 (r) full time equivalents (FTEs). This is similar to the number of FTE staff in the previous academic year (down 25 FTE staff).
The overall number of FTE staff directly employed by FE institutions in Wales decreased by 0.3% (r) between 2018/19 and 2019/20.
There were increases in FTE staff numbers in 8 (r) of the 13 FE institutions to varying degrees but the largest increase was at Coleg Cambria, where numbers increased by 2% (an increase of 20 FTE staff). Coleg Sir Gar showed a fall of 30 in FTE staff numbers (4%).
Staff full-time equivalents at further education institutions
Chart 1 shows the distribution of FTE staff across FE institutions in 2019/20. During 2019/20, staff numbers amounted to 8,730 (r) FTEs. The number of staff at individual institutions varied, from 110 FTEs at Saint David’s Catholic College to 1,265 (r) FTEs at Grŵp Llandrillo Menai.
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.
The number of FTE staff then increased year-on-year up to 2018/19. It remained relatively stable in 2019/20.
The number of FTE staff increased at eight institutions in 2019/20, in comparison to nine institutions in 2018/19, with the largest percentage increases occurring at Coleg Cambria and St. David’s Catholic College (both up by around 2%).
The total number of FTE staff fell at five institutions, the largest proportions being at Coleg Sir Gar and Coleg y Cymoedd, where numbers fell by about 4% in both.
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 57% (r) of total FTEs.
‘Teaching and Learning Support Services’ saw a 10% (r) increase in 2019/20 and constitutes 10% (r) of all FTEs. This increase mainly resulted from increases in Bridgend College, Coleg y Cymoedd and Grwp Landrillo Menai. When combined, the ‘Teaching and Learning Departments’ and ‘Teaching and Learning Support Services’ categories make up 68% (r) of total FTEs, the same as in 2018/19.
The category with the largest contribution to the overall rise in staff FTE numbers since 2015/16 is the ‘Administration and Central Services’ category, up 230 FTE. In percentage terms, the largest increase was seen in the ‘Other Support Services’ category (up 165, or 39%). Between 2018/19 and 2019/20, the main contributor to the slight overall decrease in staff FTE numbers was the ‘Teaching and Learning Departments’ category (down 105 FTE staff) (r).
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 2019/20. 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. This re-published release replaces the one published on 8 July 2021, as some institutions misinterpreted new instructions for data collection and overestimated the numbers of staff.
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.
Due to some institutions misinterpreting new instructions for data collection and overestimating the numbers of staff, this statistical bulletin has been republished. Further instructions have now been issued and all institutions are now calculating full-time equivalents on the same basis.
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 1st August to 31st July.
Staff FTE figures are as supplied directly from the Further Education institutions via the Finance Record.
Quality and methodology information
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.
Due to some institutions misinterpreting new instructions for data collection, this statistical bulletin has been re-published. Due to the way the instructions were presented, some of the institutions used headcounts, rather than full-time equivalents. This meant the numbers for staff were higher than they should have been. Further instructions were issued and all institutions are now calculating full-time equivalents on the same basis.
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 2018/19 are also available for this publication. 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 (EWC). 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 2020 and records 6,756 registered Further Education teachers and 5,407 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 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 the Further education, work-based learning and community learning report.
More detailed information on delivery at further education institutions from 2012/13 onwards is available on the StatsWales website.