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Post-16 further education

After the age of 16, education and training options become more diverse, particularly in further and vocational education. We need to know more about these pathways so that we can identify ways to improve outcomes for young people who do not go to university.

Our work in post-16 education explores young people’s decisions and pathways in their progression from compulsory education and training into work. We have a particular focus on the pathways of young people who do not go to university, although we continue to fund work related to higher education.

We want to understand which young people are following particular pathways, and what their outcomes are in relation to further training, employment, earnings and well-being. How and why do these outcomes vary? And what policy options might improve them? As with all our work in education, we want to improve understanding of different types of disadvantage faced by young people, and how it might be addressed.

We also aim to explore issues affecting the teaching profession within further and vocational education, and questions related to funding and structure.


Our team

  • Cheryl Lloyd
    Programme Head, Education

  • Director, Education

Our impact in education and skills

  • Our work in post-16 maths was influential in the government’s decision to make an additional £406 million investment in maths and technical education, including financial incentives for schools that increase take up of A level or Core Maths. This investment was informed by Sir Adrian Smith’s report on post-16 maths, which echoed many of the recommendations in our 2014 report, Mathematics after 16.

  • Teachers, parents, students and policy makers can now explore trends in national A level, AS level and GCSE entry and results data thanks to a new microsite developed by a team at FFT Education Datalab. Entry and attainment data is provided for England, Wales and Northern Ireland, as well as the UK as a whole.

  • Professor Alison Fuller’s work on adult apprenticeships informed the Education Select Committee’s recommendations in its 2015 report, particularly in relation to the misuse of the term apprenticeship which her research revealed was often used to accredit existing skills and knowledge rather than providing a new opportunity for training.

Post-16 further education projects


Education | 2012 – 2012

Is the UK an outlier in upper secondary maths education?

View project

Education | Welfare | 2011 – 2013

Moving from school to work

View project

Education | 2010 – 2012

Students’ understanding of evidence in social science issues

View project

Education | 2010 – 2012

FE to HE – Supporting student parents’ transition

View project

Education | 2003 – 2003

Nuffield Review of 14-19 Education and Training

View project

Latest in post-16 further education

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We aim to improve people’s lives by funding research that informs social policy, primarily in Education, Welfare and Justice. We also fund student programmes that give young people skills and confidence in science and research.

We are an open, collaborative and engaged funder that offers more than money. Through connecting the individual projects we fund, we strengthen their collective impact and give voice to an overarching narrative.