This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government
Responding to the survey about enrolment at sixth-form colleges by the Association of Colleges, a Department for Education spokesman said:
We don’t think the AoC survey is particularly robust. There is a drop in overall student numbers of 40,000 this year - and this survey shows a drop of 600 overall. Only half colleges choose to respond and even of them, the majority showed the enrolment numbers were steady or risen and over a quarter had risen between 5 and 10 per cent.
Record numbers of 16- and 17-year-olds are already in education or training. We are increasing that further with more than 1.5 million places available from September - with every student guaranteed a suitable place in sixth-form, college or work-based training.
There are record numbers of university places being funded this year. There has been a massive increase in apprenticeships for anyone over 16 to learn a specific trade - 360,000 places in all available in more than 200 careers. And we are strengthening vocational education so young people will have high-quality courses open to them which are valued by employers.
We are targeting financial support at students who need it most to get through their studies - through the new £180 million a year bursary fund - with further transitional support available for those students who were already drawing the EMA.