There was a rise of 10 per cent in the success rate in further education last year, while work-based learning rates rose by 8 per cent.
The news is contained in the Learning and Skills Council's Statistical First Release. Success rates for FE rose from 59 to 65 per cent, while work-based learning results rose from 36 to 39 per cent.
Two factors have had a major impact on the increase, said a spokesman for the LSC. Success rates for A2 qualifications (A-level, Year 2) are extremely high compared with other qualifications. This impacts on institutions which offer a high percentage of A-levels, for example, sixth-form colleges.
Second, there has been an increase in both volume and success rates within short courses (less than 24 weeks). Colleges are offering more short courses in areas such as health and safety, and food hygiene, because of qualifications required by legislation in some jobs. The spokesman said the LSC's policy of Success for All was designed to deliver further increases in success rates.
Between 20001 and 20012 science and maths have shown the biggest increase in success rates, with an 11 percentage point rise to 68 per cent.
Land-based provision, and visual and performing arts and media were showing respectively 10 and 9 percentage point increases over the same period.
In work-based learning there are strong improvements in agricultural courses, and information and communications technology.
John Harwood, chief executive of the LSC, said: "This upward trend is clearly good news.
"It further gives a strong indication that the policies and systems the LSC has been putting in place are having an effect."
Alan Johnson, minister for lifelong learning, further and higher education, said: "These encouraging results are a clear indication that standards are rising in both the FE and work-based learning sectors.
"But we must not be complacent. We must all build on this success and aim for even better results in the future."