Summary - UK Performance Indicators 2015/16
The purpose of the indicators is to provide an objective measure of how the UK higher education (HE) sector is performing. This page gives the national level summary statistics for each measure. Detailed data at HE provider level can be found in the Releases archive.
the first of which is widening participation and is the focus of this summary looking at the proportion of entrants among those from underrepresented backgrounds and those in receipt of disabled students’ allowance (DSA). Future publications this year will look at student retention and graduate employment. Only UK domiciled undergraduate entrants to publicly funded UK HE providers and the University of Buckingham are considered.
In contrast to previous years, we consider only two potential measures of background, namely the state school marker and the POLAR3 indicator.
The use of the National Statistics Socio-Economic Classification (NS-SEC) as a measure has been discontinued, following concerns about the quality of the data collected for this variable. This is discussed in greater depth here.
Table series T1 provides the proportion of young entrants to each UK HE provider that are from state schools or colleges.
The three tables in T1 split the population by whether they are on a first degree or other undergraduate course, as well as providing the overall young full-time undergraduate entrant picture.
In Table A below, we provide a time-series which documents how the percentage of young full-time first degree entrants from state schools or colleges has changed over time across the four nations. Chart 1 illustrates the pattern in the UK overall, whilst Chart 2 demonstrates how the proportion varies within the HE sector.
All UK countries, apart from Northern Ireland, report a figure close to 90 per cent for the proportion of young full-time entrants from state schools or colleges in 2015/16.
Additional information on how the state school marker is generated is provided at the end of this publication.
Table A - Percentage of UK domiciled young full-time first degree entrants from state schools by location of HE provider and academic year
Table series T1 and T2 include data on students from low participation neighbourhoods covering both young and mature entrants on full-time and part-time undergraduate courses.
The definition of a low participation neighbourhood in 2015/16 is based on POLAR3, first introduced in 2011/12. It has been run back to 2009/10 for comparison purposes.
This replaced the POLAR2 classification, which was used from 2006/07 up until the creation of POLAR3. Prior to the POLAR categorisation, the Super Profiles method was utilised to determine low participation neighbourhoods.
While we continue to provide a table looking at the proportion of entrants from low participation neighbourhoods over time for each country across the POLAR3, POLAR2 and Super Profile measures, it should be noted that these indicators are not comparable.
Table B shows how the proportion of this group of students has evolved in the various UK countries. The table can be filtered by mode of study and age, as well as according to the method used to determine whether an individual is from a low participation neighbourhood. When looking at the POLAR3 measure, there is an additional filter to account for the changes to the allocation of the Open University (OU) students to individual countries in the UK.
Chart 3 supplies the time-series data for the UK overall and Chart 4 displays the disparities in the percentages from such groups across HE providers.
Among full-time first degree entrants, the percentages from low participation neighbourhoods according to the POLAR3 method has steadily risen over time across the UK.
With regards to part-time undergraduate entrants, a clear discrepancy is seen in the proportion from low participation neighbourhoods by age, with higher percentages reported for young students.
From 2014/15 onwards, entrants at the OU have been allocated to the country where their national centre is located, rather than being considered as part of England as they were previously. Chart B below therefore includes an additional filter for part-time undergraduate entrants from POLAR3 low participation neighbourhoods, additional information is provided at the end of this publication.
Table B - Percentage of UK domiciled young full-time first degree entrants from low participation neighbourhoods (POLAR3) by location of HE provider and academic year
Due to the varying ways in which low participation neighbourhoods have been defined over the years, these changes have been highlighted by the use of different colours in Chart 3 below. These different methods are not comparable and hence analysing time trends should only be done using the same classification method.
A disabled student is defined as one in receipt of DSA. Table T7 provides a breakdown by HE provider and Table C below provides sector level time trends for the proportion of DSA students for each country by mode of study.
Chart 5 shows how the proportion of DSA students differs across HE providers in the UK for full-time first degree entrants only.
In the table for part-time undergraduate entrants, a separate column is provided for the OU. This is due to the funding arrangements for these students being different at the OU compared to all other HE providers.
In 2015/16, the proportion of full-time first degree entrants in receipt of DSA was 6.9 per cent in the UK, while the figure was 3.5 per cent among part-time undergraduate entrants.
However, variations are also observed across the different countries within the UK.
Table C - Percentage of UK domiciled full-time first degree students in receipt of Disabled Students' Allowance by location of HE provider and academic year
This section of the summary includes: Non-continuation rates of full-time entrants after first year | Non-continuation rates of part-time entrants after second year at HE provider | Return after a year out | Projected outcomes
For any individual who enrols at an HE provider, there are a range of outcomes that the student may achieve after a particular time.
In constructing the non-continuation tables supplied here, we define a student to have continued if they obtain a qualification (although this does not necessarily have to be the one they were originally aiming for) or remain active at the same HE provider (but they may be studying a different course to the one they were initially registered on).
For further information on the non-continuation definition, please click here.
In table series T3, we highlight the proportion of full-time entrants who do not continue in higher education beyond their first year, with T3a showing the figures for first degree entrants, while T3d focuses on other undergraduate entrants.
Table D provides non-continuation rates over time by country of provider. For full-time first degree entrants, we see higher rates among mature students than young students.
Focusing on the time trend (Chart 6), non-continuation rates among young, full-time first degree students has remained relatively steady over time with a more downward trajectory observed for mature entrants.
With regards to other undergraduate entrants in 2014/15, the non-continuation rate for young, full-time students in the UK is generally slightly higher than for mature entrants. Overall, the non-continuation value for both mature and young entrants has displayed a declining pattern since the start of the millennium.
Chart 7 considers non-continuation rates across HE providers. Among mature first degree entrants, the chart illustrates a noticeable bell shape, with the peak lying in the region of 8 to 12 per cent. The distribution is more right skewed for young first degree entrants.
Table D - Percentage of UK domiciled young full-time first degree entrants not continuing in HE after their first year by location of HE provider and academic year
Table T3e concentrates on non-continuation two years after entry for part-time first degree entrants. In Table E, we illustrate non-continuation rates for this group. Rates are slightly higher among those aged 30 and under than for those aged over 30. Chart 8 illustrates how the proportion varies within the sector.
Please note that from the 2014/15 publication, there was a change in the allocation of The Open University (OU) students by location of HE provider. Previously, all OU enrolments were counted within England, where the OU has its administrative centre. From the 2014/15 publication onwards, enrolments at one of the OU’s national centres in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will contribute to the totals of those countries. This impacts on the non-continuation statistics shown in table E below from 2012/13.
Table E - Percentage of UK domiciled part-time first degree entrants aged 30 and under not continuing in HE after their second year by location of HE provider and academic year
Table T4 discloses the percentage of students who return to HE after a year out during 2014/15. The data provides a split to show the proportions who return to their initial provider, transfer to another provider and those who do not return to study.
The projected learning outcomes for full-time students starting their programme of study in 2014/15 is supplied in Table T5. They give the outcomes that would be expected from starters at the HE providers in 2014/15 if these progression patterns were to remain unchanged over the next few years.
The sector averages for the UK and its constituent countries are obtained by taking a weighted average of all the relevant HE provider values. We see from Table F that the proportion of full-time first degree students expected to qualify with a degree from the HE provider at which they started in the UK is just over 80 per cent in 2014/15. As Chart 9 demonstrates, there has been a gentle fall in the proportion of students not expected to obtain an award or transfer. Chart 10 illustrates the spread of values for this indicator across the sector.
Table F - Projected outcomes - percentage of UK domiciled full-time first degree starters expected to gain a degree (sector averages) by location of HE provider and academic year
Approximately six months after completing their qualification, individuals are requested to complete the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey, which gathers information on what graduates have gone on to do after their studies.
As in previous years, around three quarters of the eligible population responded to the survey, with response levels being highest among those who were studying for full-time first degree qualifications. Further information on response rates is provided in Table G and Table H. Note that data prior to 2002/03 is based on the First Destinations Supplement (FDS) and is not comparable with data taken from the DLHE survey. As such, the indicators have been omitted from Table G. Due to changes to the DLHE questionnaire, the employment indicator from 2011/12 onwards is not comparable with those prior to 2011/12, see note below for more details.
Table G - Response rates of UK domiciled full-time first degree qualifiers by academic year
Table H - Response rates of UK domiciled qualifiers by level of qualification and mode of qualification 2015/16
The proportion of full-time first degree graduates in employment and/or further study continues to show a steady rise, as exemplified in Chart 11. Table I displays the outcomes for this cohort in more detail. This year has seen a slight fall in the proportion moving into employment only, with there being a rise in the percentage going into further study. Meanwhile, Table J displays the destinations by level and mode of qualification for the 2015/16 cohort. It is worth highlighting that those on other undergraduate degrees tend to continue with their studies to a far greater extent than those on first degrees.
Table I - Employment outcomes of UK domiciled full-time first degree qualifiers by academic year
Table J - Employment outcomes of UK domiciled qualifiers by level of qualification and mode of qualification 2015/16
Chart 12 shows how the percentage of full-time first degree leavers in work or study varies across higher education providers in the UK. The vast majority of providers have over ninety per cent of their leavers in employment and/or further study around six months after graduation.
Are figures for the proportion of student entrants from state schools or colleges comparable over time?
Our figures do not factor in changes that may have occurred to the underlying population (e.g. how the percentage of secondary school pupils attending state schools or colleges has evolved in the UK over time).
Secondly, there has been a change in the way the state school marker is created. For new entrants from 2014/15, the last provider attended field we collect (PREVINST) must contain a valid UK Provider Reference Number (the unique identifier allocated to each provider) or a valid generic code (see here for further details), rather than historic UCAS, department and HESA school codes.
These have been mapped to school type and grouped to form the state school marker. In the case of an unknown or invalid PREVINST code, students have been excluded from the formation of the indicator. This alteration may have an impact on the quality of the school type data.
For these reasons, caution must be exercised when analysing the time series data.
Who classifies as a young entrant?
Young entrants are those aged under 21, whilst mature students are those aged 21 or over.
How do you define a state school or college?
This covers all schools and colleges (including further education colleges and publicly funded HE providers) that are not classed as independent.
What is the POLAR methodology?
The POLAR classification places local areas into five quintiles, based on the higher education participation rates of 18 year olds in the locality. Those with the lowest percentages are placed into quintile 1 and are considered to be the most disadvantaged, with quintile 5 having the highest rates.
An individual is deemed to be from a low participation neighbourhood if their area falls into quintile 1.
Please note that the various ways in which low participation neighbourhoods have been defined over the years are not comparable and hence analysing time trends should be done using the same classification method.
Why is there no data for the proportion of entrants from low participation neighbourhoods in Scotland?
The relatively high (in UK terms) participation rate in Scotland coupled with the very high proportion of HE that occurs in further education colleges means that the figures for Scottish HE providers could, when viewed in isolation, misrepresent their contribution to widening participation. Therefore, low participation data has not been produced for HE providers in Scotland. More information is provided here.
How are the continuation categories defined?
Why do the figures published in Table I and J differ from those published in the main tables and chart 11?
The percentages reported in Table I and J include leavers who returned their activity as 'other' or did not answer the question. These leavers are excluded from the published tables E1a-E1d. More detail can be found at our employment indicator definitions webpage.
Why do employment figures published within the UK Performance Indicators differ slightly from those published elsewhere by HESA?
The UK Performance Indicators tables only include those students whose normal residence is in the United Kingdom, excluding Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man. For data published by HESA, Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man are included as part of the UK. The Employment Performance Indicators are further restricted to full-time and part-time undergraduates.
How are the OU students dealt with?
Prior to 2014/15, all OU entrants were considered to be in England, where the university has its administrative centre. However, since 2014/15, entrants have been allocated to the country where their national centre is located.
DSA data for the OU has been excluded for the academic years 2007/08 and 2008/09, due to changes introduced by HESA to the method of apportioning full-time equivalent between years which has affected the count of OU part-time students. In 2014/15, the OU under-reported the number of students in receipt of DSA in England and Wales. See here for further details.
Where can I find information on any merger or changes to HE providers?
These can be found here.
Are there any additional notes on the Performance Indicators to accompany this publication?
For more information relating to the Performance Indicators, please click here.
HESA cannot accept responsibility for any inferences or conclusions derived from the data by third parties.
Press enquiries should be directed to the Press Office at HESA, 95 Promenade, Cheltenham, GL50 1HZ, +44 (0)1242 211120, [email protected]. General enquiries about the data contained within this release should be addressed to the UKPI team, HESA (at the same address), +44 (0)1242 211115, [email protected].