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Technical definitions

Aside from our main definitions pages we have also created this technical definitions page which holds information on some of the more complex fields and common calculations undertaken using the HESA data. If you cannot find the definition you are looking for, then please do not hesitate to contact the Information Services team

Fixed Database

HESA provides higher education providers (HEPs) with the opportunity to make post-collection amendments to a dataset through the fixed database facility. The fixed database collection opens following the closure of the corresponding live data collection, and remains open for between 6 and 15 months, depending on the data stream; typically longer for the Student record and shorter for other collections. As the fixed database collection remains open well beyond publication dates, onward use of information whilst it remains open (for example in HESA publications) will normally be based on the original data collected and not on any amended data submitted through the fixed database facility. For further information about the changes please contact us via [email protected]

Student:Staff Ratios (SSR)

The student: staff ratio (SSR) is designed to show the total number of students per member of academic teaching staff. The SSR is calculated using the student and staff full-time equivalent (FTE).

PLEASE NOTE: The mobility data (comprising LOCSDY codes T and U, and the mobility types) that we use for two of the FTE reductions listed below has only been in the HESA Student record since 2013/14, and we cannot provide comparable data for any year prior to this.

Student component (numerator)

The student figures are based on the HESA session population, and include students counted as 1 (HE session population) and 2 (FE session population). We split the student data into 2 portions, one for those students for whom we include the full FTE (the ‘basic FTE’) and the other for those for whom we make a reduction (the ‘reduced FTE’).

A reduction is made to the FTE for the following students:

  • Students with a location of study of D “On industrial (or other) placement for the year as a whole” – FTE reduced to 20% of the original.
  • Students with a location of study of E “On industrial (or other) placement for a proportion of the year” – FTE reduced to 60% of the original.
  • Students with a location of study of T “Abroad for the whole year” who are not studying for any part of their time abroad (e.g. none of their mobility types are 01 Study abroad) – FTE reduced to 20% of the original.
  • Students with a location of study of U “Abroad for a proportion of the year” who are not studying for any part of their time abroad (e.g. none of their mobility types are 01 Study abroad) – FTE reduced to 60% of the original.
  • Students who are studying under a franchise arrangement – we only include the proportion of the FTE that is taught by the reporting HE provider (e.g. if a student is 30% franchised, we would include 70% of their FTE).

NOTE: Where the student falls into one of the LOCSDY (locations of study) categories above and is being taught under a franchise arrangement, then both reductions will be applied (e.g. if a student has a location of study of D and is 50% franchised, then we would only include 10% of their FTE).

Staff component (denominator)

The staff figures include academic 'teaching only’ and ‘teaching and research’ staff in the HESA Staff contract session population (i.e. F_ACEMPFUN is 1 or 3, and F_XPSESC01=1). In some analysis, atypical staff (identified in the terms of employment field – F_TERMS=3) may be shown separately.

Calculation of SSR

Once the 4 constituent parts have been generated, the SSR is calculated by summing together the student components and dividing them by the summed staff components. As standard, atypical staff are included in HESA SSR calculations but may be omitted if required.

Suppression

To avoid SSRs being calculated on low numbers, data is suppressed if the student component is less than or equal to 7 FTE or if the staff component is less than or equal to 2 FTE.

SQL code to aid re-creation of SSRs

Fields used are from HESA records, and include some in-house derived fields which are not passed on to HE providers. The SSR_SQL document includes the full technical specifications for these fields.