It’s the time of year when HESA – The Higher Education Statistics Agency – issue their statistical first release covering student enrolments and qualifications obtained. Against a background of a small annual rise in all enrolments at UK HE providers (up 1%) and a slight fall in part-time ones (down 1%) on the previous year, Open University enrolments fell a little over 4% (*). This marks the sixth straight year of decline from a peak of 209,705 in 2009/10 to 126,620 in 2015/16. Postgraduate enrolments are around half of what they used to be.

Part-timers now account for 24% of undergraduate and postgraduate students. In the years preceding significant changes to HE finances (the abolition of ELQ funding under Labour and the tuition fee reforms under the coalition) this figure was closer to 40%.

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Tim Holyoake
My name's Tim. I'm 50, live and work in Derby, am happily married (since 1988) and have two beautiful grown-up daughters who are in their early 20s. I've been blogging away quietly at www.tenpencepiece.net since 2008 covering a diverse range of topics, but with a bias towards the joys and woes of being a mature student. Post40bloggers is a welcome addition to my world as it's always great to receive encouragement, ideas and challenges from friends who also love blogging, yet have their own unique perspective on life. I'm looking forward to sharing my passion for lifelong learning with this community as well as hearing your stories. I hope that those of you who haven't been bitten by the lifelong learning bug (yet!) feel suitably enthused and motivated to try something for yourself. Learning definitely isn't only for the young ...