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More bums on seats

The number of students on vocational further education courses rose by 66 per cent in the six years to 2000, from 187,529 to 311,753. By contrast, figures from the Executive show, those on higher education courses (provided in colleges as well as universities) increased by 28 per cent during the same period.

Those on non-vocational FE courses more than doubled from 24,835 to 50,892.

Students are also getting older : 55 per cent were aged 24 or under in 1994-95 which fell to 48 per cent last year.

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