Working Paper 70
Intersectoral relationships within higher education: the FE/HE interface in the UK
Published June 2021

This study seeks to understand the interface between further education colleges and universities in the UK. Its findings, based on a response rate of 45% of FE colleges, shows that 89% of colleges have formal links with at least one university; 95 universities, more than 50% of the UK’s universities, had formal agreements in respect to individual joint activities. The study reports in total and by regions the joint activities and the fields of study which these links cover and the cumulative student numbers engaged in each type of joint activity. The findings raise significant issues as to the extent to which higher education policies in the UK should be tertiary based rather than conceived as the product of two separate sectors. Wales has already adopted a tertiary system of education and Scotland is moving in that direction but England retains a two sector approach. The paper suggests that the evidence provided points to there being strong arguments for policy integration rather than separation and that this should be best undertaken on a regional rather than a centralised basis.

You can read the full Working Paper here.