At the @ESFAgov we have been conducting research with providers focusing on how they submit data to us and where improvements can be made. We looked at what transpires before and after submission of the ILR returns.

Admittedly the learner data submitted by a provider is quite complex and the plot thickens with each ILR (Individualised Learner Record) return. AFED was created to empower FE providers with a deeper insight into their submitted learner data. The groundwork was laid by conducting frequent yet detailed user research sessions, considering the provider feedback which is vital for each successful release.

Data takes resource

We found that the sheer volume of data can pose a big burden for providers; the managing, collecting, submission and understanding of it all. There are several reports provided after submitting an ILR return to help providers, but these can be overwhelming in their differences and format.

Another finding was how large and small providers differ in what resources they can allocate to the task of data management and resolution of any data errors. Whole teams, with bespoke systems, exist in educational settings with larger providers, while smaller providers struggle to satisfy the data reporting requirements.

What is clear for both, is that a significant amount of time and money is spent on the process of data management and reporting.

Giving providers more

As we collect data from all further education providers, we have information that would be beneficial to share with the sector to help others understand their position.

This could be through giving reliable financial projections based on achievement rates, a sector average for a certain type of provider or how close a provider is to becoming at risk in specific categories.

These are what providers have asked for and want to see. The idea being that they can be proactive, instead of reacting to errors after submitting a return or being financially penalised.

Quote from user research -It would go down really well; it brings things together into one place and saves people the hassle of doing something. If you have 50 providers doing it, then its 50 times less efficient for them all to do it than it is to do it centrally and publish it online as part of the data collection system

A design based on evidence

This information could be given to providers in a format that is designed based on user feedback. This allows us to produce a tool that is relevant and meaningful to the people that use it, rather than what we assume you want or need.

Over the past few months, we have been working on a data reporting tool that will show your position after every submitted ILR return. It will be broken down into 5 sections comprising learner, funding, benchmarking, quality, and compliance. These areas were identified in the research as being the most important.

Snapshot of the dashboard or the home page. A provider can review their learners’ details based on each ILR return by clicking on the Learner tile.

With each new development we make, we release it to a ‘private beta’ group. This is a group of providers working with us to give feedback. This small group enables us to develop, test, release, and respond quickly to changes that need to be made.

View your education data

The tool will be released on view your education data (VYED). You will need an Identity and Access Management System (IDAMS) account to get access to the tool. Once in VYED, you will also need to request the ‘View Your Education Data – AFED’ role.

There is no limit on who can have access from one’s educational setting. Ideally, we would want anyone who finds it helpful to have access to it. Each setting’s allocated ‘super user’ may need to give others access once the tool is available.

The tool: Analyse FE Data (AFED)

We have built AFED using Microsoft’s Power BI software, some of you may be familiar with Power BI from using the QAR reports on VYED.

This release focusses on learner data, with future releases including additional sections. The section is split into education and training (E&T) and apprenticeships for simplicity. You will be able to see learner numbers categorised by their status of learning, as well as the aims by status.

You can filter the data by funding models, 3 years’ worth of data and individual return periods. We have been able to show an average against providers of the same type, meaning that you can get an idea of how others are performing.

There are 3 ‘drill throughs’, so sections that show your data in more detail. The sections are learners (individual aims), demographics and subcontractors. Each section can be filtered, enabling you to tailor the data to your needs.

Every visual and section of data can be exported from Power BI by hovering over the element and selecting the 3 dots to see ‘export’.

Individual aims drill through

Four tiles will show the number of aims by status from the latest return and show a comparison against the previous return.

A large table of all your aims is made up of several categories, allowing you to see what is relevant to you and refine using the filter. Again, it will show 3 years’ worth of data and can be filtered by one, or many, returns.

Demographics drill through

There are 3 visuals, legal sex, learning difficulty and health problems, and ethnicity, all of which can be viewed as a graph or table. Each is split up by return to show your performance through the academic year.

Snapshot of the Learner’s Demographics (drill through page) capturing the learners categorised by their ‘legal Sex’ for a particular Provider over each academic return in the selected Academic Year (2018/19).


This will only apply to those providers who contract out some of their learning to subcontractors. It will be blank if it does not apply to you.

The first table shows your learners, while the second table details your subcontractors. A simple way to see all aims for one subcontractor, is to use the right-mouse button on the subcontractor you want and select ‘drill through’.


The tool will contain a quick guide of how to use Power BI, if you are new to the functions, and guidance on elements within the tool. There will also be definitions for terms we have used.

Where possible, we have tried to retain familiar terms, and their meaning, used within the sector. Again, relying on user research to inform our choice of language.

Give us feedback

The link ‘submit a help enquiry’ (within the tool) will act as a place for you to tell us something isn’t working or to ask for guidance.

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

Sharon Walpole added a new event yesterday

CareermapLive: An Introduction to WorldSkills UK...

During this live webinar, you'll have the opportunity to learn about our skills competition development programme which provides colleges,...

  • Wednesday, 28 April 2021 03:30 PM
  • Online Event, UK

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page