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Progression of College Students in London to Higher Education 2011-2014

Progression of College Students in London to Higher Education 2011-2014

Smith, Sharon, Joslin, Hugh and Jameson, Jill ORCID: 0000-0002-9545-8078 (2017) Progression of College Students in London to Higher Education 2011-2014. Project Report. Linking London, London.

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This report presents the findings of longitudinal research commissioned by Linking London, a partnership organisation of forty-one higher (HE) and further education (FE) institutions, into the progression to higher education of 120,625 students from all FE Colleges and Sixth Form Colleges in London in 2014-15. The research provides evidence that London FE and Sixth Form Colleges play an important function in supporting large numbers of young and adult students in the capital to realise their potential, progress to university and gain higher education qualifications. It also demonstrates that these transitions are not smooth, especially for students from more deprived neighbourhoods and from some ethnic groups.

Developed from a unique ‘fuzzy matching’ research methodology, the report analyses the progression of three cohorts of London college students, starting with the 2011-12 cohort and culminating in the 2013-14 cohort entering HE in 2014-15. Of 120,625 students tracked between 2011 and 2013, 52,145 (43%) progressed to higher education between 2012 and 2014; 39% of whom progressed immediately following Level 3 qualification.

The methodology was developed over several years by the team to track students longitudinally by matching ILR (Individualised Learner Record) datasets with HESA (Higher Education Statistics Agency) and ILR datasets for entrants to higher education. Longitudinal research provides more accurate overall progression rates than short-term analysis, as cohorts of students are tracked for their entry into and achievement within higher education over a period of several years. This is particularly important for vocational education students, some of whom tend to progress into higher education later than those studying academic subjects in school sixth forms.

FE and Sixth Form Colleges in London educate an economically deprived cohort where around three in four students come from deprived neighbourhoods. The report’s findings demonstrate that London colleges improve the academic capital of students from these deprived neighbourhoods as well as those with low attainment at school. The high percentage of Level 3 students who progress to higher education achieve this with varying academic capital, a range of entry qualifications and sometimes low prior school attainment. Key differences in cultural capital, combined with the complex demography across the London boroughs, play an important role in participation. The report reveals that 64% of the Level 3 cohorts in 2013-2014 are from BME group students, while many have working class backgrounds with little familial experience of higher education.

The research used the Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index (IDACI) (National Statistics, 2015) as a metric for disadvantage, identifying that around three in four of the London college students in the study were classified as living in the top 40% most deprived UK neighbourhoods. The study found seemingly paradoxical evidence of higher progression rates of college students from the most deprived neighbourhoods in London. This may be explained by higher proportions of younger students and BME students in IDACI Quartile 1 (Q1) neighbourhoods, where these groups have higher progression rates. These factors play into progression in various ways, including choice of Level 3 programmes and destinations. It is important to keep in mind the distinctiveness of the London FE and Sixth Form College student body when making comparisons with the school sector generally and with other regions and national averages for England.

Sponsored by Birkbeck, Goldsmiths, King’s College London and Kingston University, and commissioned by forty-one Linking London partner institutions, this is the third in a series of major research reports analysing the progression of college students in London, carried out by Smith, Joslin and Jameson, University of Greenwich. The report follows two reports analysing prior cohorts over the six years 2005-2011. Taken together, the three reports provide an overview of the progression of London college student cohorts between 2005 and 2014, a span of nine years. The report provides an overview of trends over these nine years, extracting key data from each of them. It highlights trends in progression rates, identifying progression to both universities and HE in FE. Matched records include demographic information on sex, age, ethnicity, domicile, courses and achievement data. The University of Greenwich team worked with Dr Suzie Dent, Analytical Services Manager, HESA, on the development of the research methodology, with David MacKay, Head of Stakeholder Relationships (HE) at Pearson UK on the changes to BTEC qualifications over the period of the study and with Rachel Thompson on the analysis of the databases and tables.
(Jill Jameson)

Item Type: Monograph (Project Report)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Student progression; Higher education; Further education; College students; London students; HE-FE; Widening participation; Access; Deprivation
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
L Education > L Education (General)
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1603 Secondary Education. High schools
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
L Education > LC Special aspects of education > LC5201 Education extension. Adult education. Continuing education
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences
Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences > School of Education (EDU)
Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences > Institute for Lifecourse Development > Centre for Professional Workforce Development
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Last Modified: 18 Nov 2021 23:57

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